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    Friday, April 17, 2020

    Amazon Alexa Voice-Based Assistant Gets a Long-Form Speaking Style

    Amazon has introduced a new speaking style for Alexa and has also added some speaking styles for other Artificial Intelligence voices, the company said today. The long-form speaking style is available for US developers who want a reading voice that sounds more natural when reading long pieces of content, like articles or podcasts.

    Amazon says the long-form style is "powered by a deep-learning text-to-speech model," and allows Alexa-voiced devices to speak with more natural conversational pauses. It follows last year's release of new speaking styles for news and music content and a November update that allows Alexa to seem "disappointed" or "excited."

    "For example, you can use this speaking style for customers who want to have the content on a web page read to them or listen to a storytelling section in a game," the blog post for developers notes.

    The multinational tech company is also adding its news and conversational speaking styles for the Matthew and Joanna voices from Amazon Polly, its neural network-based text-to-speech AWS service, and is adding its news speaking style to Lupe, its US Spanish voice.

    " The news speaking style makes the Matthew, Joanna, and Lupe voices sound similar to what you hear from TV news anchors and radio hosts, while the conversational speaking style makes the Matthew and Joanna voices sound less formal and as if they're speaking to friends and family. The conversational speaking style is only available in select Polly voices and not Alexa's voice," the blog notes.

    Polly's speaking style voices, which are available for a few voices, and 10 new Polly voices, are also available for developers to build Alexa skills. The new voices are available in six new languages (es-US, es-MX, fr-CA, pt-BR, es-ES, and it-IT).
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