Amazon Polly just released a couple of new male voices, and is now available in Asia Pac. I took note of the news because it’s important that Amazon Web Services and other companies delivering voice-based services don’t spend all their time delivering voices that sound like women. Most of the “assistant” voice-based services out there are women, by voice and by name, and it’s kind of wearing to be honest. Why shouldn’t Google Voice or Alexa or Siri default to a male voice?
So more male voices is all good. To be fair Amazon Polly is a different product from Alexa. It’s a general purpose text to speech engine. I thought I would give it a quick test-drive. So far the voices are clearly computer-generated, although it turns out Polly’s Welsh accent is really nice – hello Geraint!
i think linguistics researchers could have a lot of fun with Polly. There is something magical about hearing Polly reading Under Milk Wood (my quick brown fox) but “thinking” it’s reading Norwegian. Rather than just write about it I thought I should do the obvious and record a quick video demonstrating what I am talking about. You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of fit and finish. I didn’t have time to top and tail it, and it would take a donkey’s age to upload if I did so when I got home, but I hope you find it interesting.
full disclosure: AWS is a client.