National Star college a specialist college that supports young people with disabilities approached CereProc with a project to set-up a national voice bank for students. They stated that a number of their students found it hard to find a voice that was age appropriate with a regional accent that reflected their regional roots. Professional Head of Services Graham Leary, CereProc states:
“Accents are very important to people's sense of identity and the broad range of accents in the UK is not reflected in current text-to-speech voices”
The voice bank would give students access to a wide range of regional accents representing the majority of counties in the UK. To raise awareness of the importance of this issue, four students appeared on the “One Show” on the 21st of February 2019 searching for a new voice. All four students using communication devises found it difficult to find the right voice to communicate with people. One of the students Jack is originally from Wolverhampton had been using a standard off-the-shelf voice – he felt isolated and wanted to sound like the rest of his family. CereProc donated their revolutionary voice cloning system which was used to create a Wolverhampton – accented synthesis voice for Jack. National Star and the BBC chose a voice donor with a suitable accent and age profile and recorded him reading CereProc’s phonetically balanced voice cloning script. CereProc’s technical team built his new voice and now, Jack is able to use his CereProc voice to communicate with his family in his own accent which has changed his life.
Jack a massive Wolverhampton fan and dream came true when Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves invited Jack to announce his team with his new voice at the Wolverhampton vs Cardiff game on the 2nd of March 2019. Jack replied delightedly saying “Bostin!”.
This project demonstrates how Text-To-Speech impacts of the lives of individuals and how, through our voice cloning program, it touches human emotion and the lives of people with disabilities. Through donating our voice cloning system it has given the students a voice to reflect their identity which will allow them to grow as individuals. CereProc looks forward to working together with National Star and the BBC to build and record voices for National Star Students Ted Barnard -Edwards, Nathan Groves and Talia McDowell.