Uncover the secret of the Esperanto voice!
I started the course today and find the voice very pleasant to listen to. And I've heard all sentences were recorded with a real person. So, who is behind that nice voice? May we know? Will there be an interview in the future? :)
Well, I can tell you all I know, as the guy who lead the process from the Esperanto team. I talked with Duolingo about various ways to adapt a TTS (text-to-speech) system from Polish to get a satisfactory voice (which got surprisingly decent results except for a few edge cases), but in the end they wanted to go with a real human recording, which was fine by me!
They have an agency they use for recordings, so they asked them for an Esperanto sample and I was more than skeptical. Oh great, we're going to get recordings from an American beginner and this is going to be terrible. But ok, let's give it a try. I got the sample and was stunned. I can't even tell where this guy is from, it's so good. So, we approved an audition.
Then Duolingo asked me for 10 sentences to test his pronunciation. Ha, this will be fun. So yeah, I made up some of the hardest (yet realistic) sentences for him to say, often picking real sentences from the course. I threw the kitchen sink at him. I was curious what he might mess up. Got the audition recording. Perfect. I shared with my team and they were all so surprised and happy.
So, I gave Duolingo our approval and the rest is history. I'm really proud of our voice! But yet, I still don't know who he is. I'm pretty sure someday we'll find out. Esperanto is a pretty tight-knit community after all. :)
Caveat: I'm not a contributor, and I haven't been doing Turkish regularly the last couple of weeks.
As far as I know, they went with a TTS. I seem to remember Selcen saying they were disabling the TTS for any sentences where it was poor. It also explains why, so far as I've noticed, everything has a recording on the Turkish course, and repeated word/phrases always sound the same.
I would say it's not a bad TTS, sometimes it sounds a little robotic but mostly it's fine, but I would be very surprised if it was a real person. I just did a couple of exercises in the app to have another listen, as the last couple of weeks have been mostly Ukrainian and Esperanto with a touch of Norwegian, and it confirmed my impression that it's a TTS.
How interesting! And so cool!! I really, really love how clear his voice is. I take Esperanto courses in other places as well (Lernu and Memrise) and even as a beginner, I just know that something just sounds wrong...if I can even understand anything being said at all!
I seriously heart Esperanto voice guy here LoL!! Thanks for putting him through the ringer to bring us the best voice possible! Have a lingot! =D
Thank you for using a real voice, it is much better than TTS. I went through Spanish Duolingo and the TTS is not as good for learning. I can now understand a lot of what I hear on the street (Los Angeles) and in movies from Spain, and the way they slur/shorten their words is not the same as the way TTS slurs/shortens the words. TTS is surprisingly good and it was definitely better than nothing, but real human voice is at least 30% better in my estimation.
Hehe! Do grandega surprizo! Dekmiloj da homoj aŭdados vian voĉon.
Nu, kaj kiel vi altkvalite registris? Mi scivolemas ĉar ankaŭ mi bezonas fojfoje kvalitan sonregistradon kaj ne plene sukcesas.
Mi ekzemple kreis tion ĉi https://youtu.be/-nQYo3GJABc Ĉar mi proponis tiun servon por ueaanoj (rektaj aŭ nerektaj) kaj antaŭpagis por ili (valoras 240€)
Se vi emas helpi iom pro via voĉo aŭ aliaj talentoj, eniru en la forumon por krei kaj kunkrei ;-) http://bit.ly/powtoon-forumo
I am pretty sure it's the voice of Cyrille. He lives in France and has Esperanto native daughters. Listen to him and give your opinion ;-)
Mi sufiĉe certas ke la voĉulo estas Cyrille. Li loĝas Francie kaj havas du denaskulinojn. Aŭskultu lin kaj opiniu ;-)
Informu 1 000 000 da personoj pri Esperanto: http://youtu.be/n5DQ4IyqvHU
Whoever recorded it is perfect. A beautifully clear and pleasant voice. Such a positive change from the TTS voices on other courses, which often leave you wondering if you've misheard what was said. Thank you to DuoLingo for hiring him, and thank you to the Esperanto Team for a great course!
[eo]: Tre bela kaj klara voĉo! Certe estas de profesiulo. Ne aŭdeblas akĉento. Tia neŭtrala parolmaniero estas imitinda, kaj certe bona por la voĉkomparo post la beta-fazo.
Ĉu vi en la finaj lecionoj aldonos aliajn, ankaŭ inajn voĉojn?
[en]: Very beautiful and clear voice! Certainly of a professional. No accent to hear. A neutral pronounciation like this is good to imitate, and certainly good for the voice comparison after the beta-phase.
Will you in the last lessons add other, also female voices?
:-( :-( . Just ask Nils - native speaker in the third generation. He already made nice synchronizations of films with members of the you-know-family with four members and two native, äh, "speaker-inoj". Yes, I know, it's difficult to pronounce like this mystery professional, but just for a change... I hear their voices quite often, but not the other people doing the course.
- Lia kuracisto ne sciis la kialon por lia malsano.
- Li estis faranta stultajn erarojn.
- La lingvo de Ĉeĥio estas la ĉeĥa.
- Nia praavino daŭre uzas tiun praan kandelingon.
- La IJK okazas en malsama lando ĉiujare.
- Eĥoŝanĝo ĉiuĵaŭde.
- Ĉiam estas gufujo kaj dancejo ĉe junularaj renkontiĝoj de Esperanto en Eŭropo.
- Kial vi kontentis hieraŭ?
- En 1905 la unua UK okazis.
- Mia patro kutime laboras po kvardek horoj semajne.
I was thinking maybe it was Luis Jorge Santos Morales at first, but his voice is a bit deeper, so perhaps not. Though he could've changed it for this job, like a voice actor. [EDIT] Ha, I should've read the entire thread. It's Francis Soghomonian. Way to go, man! You also have a very lovely voice. :D Perfect for a language course.
Maybe, but unless Esperanto is your native language, everyone who speaks it has an accent. Actually, even if it was your native language, your parents probably spoke it to you in their accent, so nobody really would have an "Esperanto accent," which is pretty cool when you think about it!
You can definitely detect different accents in Esperanto. The Kurso de Esperanto which is made in Brazil seems to have definite Portuguese accents. There is a podcast with a German speaker who seems to have a bit of a German accent. If you listen to China Radio International, some of the announcers have accents- usually they have trouble with the "n" ending. However, Jianping has excellent, nearly accentless Esperanto, and is a pleasure to listen to.