The BBC takes on Text-to-Speech Technology to Translate Broadcasts into Japanese
A journalist utilizes the BBC’s new virtual voice-over technology to translate his broadcast into Japanese
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is trialing a new innovative ‘virtual voice-over technology’, which uses a combination of technologies to efficiently and precisely translate short online news videos into languages other than English for the world to enjoy.
The technology is an amalgamation of other existing technologies, pulling together text-to-speech software and automatic translation technology to create a unique virtual voice-over application. The use of this technology streamlines the process of translating English videos into other languages. When a journalist produces a broadcast, they can utilize this new ‘virtual voice-over technology’ to translate their entire broadcast into another language in a matter of minutes.
The process is simple. First, a journalist will upload the written script of their broadcast to the system, which will automatically translate the English text into another language. Each journalist then has an opportunity to proof-read and edit the text translation to ensure it is correct. Once the content is confirmed, the computer program will generate an audio file of the broadcast using a synthesized voice. As the technology is improved, the ability for automatic subtitles will also be included.
This is an exciting new use of text-to-speech technology, enabling people throughout the world to gain access to some of the best journalism in the world, regardless of what language they speak. Here at NeoSpeech, we firmly believe that language barriers should never hinder the learning experience and the pursuit of knowledge.
The technology first went live in December 2015 with the integration of a range of Japanese TTS voices, including our very own Show. The BBC plans to integrate Russian synthesized voices into the trial platform later in 2016 and if the trial is a success, they will look into expanding the program into even more languages.
A picture of the BBC’s virtual voice-over technology, with the options for Japanese voices
Not only does this increase access to current affairs, but it also increases the efficiency of journalists at the BBC, enabling them to focus on discovering and reporting top stories and focusing less on the translation of those stories.
To learn more, take a look at this short video where our UK English voice, Hugh, guides a demonstration of the BBC’s exciting new technology while the BBC’s technology experts discuss their future plans for the new technology.
“I’m very excited about this trial” says James Montgomery, the Digital Director for BBC News. “The BBC has some of the best original journalism in the world, with correspondents around the globe. Technology like this means we can bring more of our international journalism to more people.”
We are excited to see where this technology takes the BBC and to see our text-to-speech software integrated into other ambitious projects like this throughout 2016. This is an important step in enabling the world to gain access to current affairs and to keep everyone up to date, no matter what language they speak.
Learn More about the BBC’s new use of Text-to-Speech
To learn more about the BBC’s new technology and use of text-to-speech voices, take a look at these articles from the BBC:
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