CereProc and CALL Scotland have collaborated to produce the world's first Scottish Gaelic synthetic voice Ceitidh (pronounced as "Katie"). The Ceitidh voice is available for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X and may be freely downloaded by schools, FE colleges, universities and public sector organisations in Scotland. The project was funded by the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, SQA and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Gaelic dates back centuries and historically was spoken in large parts of Scotland. The Celtic language is said to have been brought to Scotland by settlers from the north east corner of Ireland and rose to become the predominant language throughout Scotland. However, by the 17th century the number of Gaelic speakers had started to decline while the proportion of Scots and English speakers rose. Today, Gaelic speakers are equally divided between the Highlands and Islands, particularly in the Western Isles, Skye and the island communities of Argyll and the Central Belt.
CereProc worked with Gaelic expert Michael Bauer from Scottish Gaelic language consultancy Akerbeltz to develop the synthetic voice. The Gaelic voice can be used for a variety of tasks such as reading Word documents and PDFs, reading websites, proof reading emails or text, screen reading, as well as listening to audio books. The voice is especially useful to those who may have dyslexia or visual and reading impairments and it will also be a great asset to those who are learning Gaelic.
The voice is now available for download on CALL Scotland’s website alongside Heather and Stuart and can be used on Windows and MAC OS X devices. Commercial copies of Ceitidh are available from CereProc directly.
CALL (Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning) Scotland is an organisation funded by the Scottish Government. CALL Scotland aim to provide assistive technology to help improve the learning environment for children and young people with a disability or special needs. CereProc and CALL Scotland first collaborated in 2008.
CereProc’s Chief Executive Paul Welham is pleased with the results of the Gaelic voice, “As a Scottish Company, we were extremely pleased to have the opportunity to develop one of Scotland’s native languages. The feedback during trials of Ceitidh has been totally positive. CereProc hope this will encourage more people to learn and speak Gaelic”.