Alexa’s new long-form speaking style is perfect for narrating news stories, podcasts and blogs, Amazon says.
Developers can now access the new Alexa speaking style to create more engaging long-form content for their customers, including news articles, podcasts and blogs. The new style can be used to read long pieces of content on web pages or to narrate the storytelling section of a game.
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Amazon has used a deep-learning text-to-speech model to teach Alexa to take more natural pauses. With this new speaking style, the voice assistant knows to take longer pauses when moving from one paragraph to the next, as well as when switching between characters in reading dialogue.
The company initially announced that it would be developing new speaking styles for news and music back in November. The curated text-to-speech voices are designed to better suit specific forms of content. The news speaking style, for instance, replicates the voices of TV news anchors and radio hosts, making news articles sound more natural and easier to digest for the listener.
You can actually listen to short samples of the new speaking styles on Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit Blog. The company has shared before and after comparisons for Alexa, as well as for other voices from AWS AI service Amazon Polly.
While the changes are subtle, the pauses in Alexa’s new long-form speaking style do sound more natural than those spoken in its neutral variant. The differences are more obvious in Amazon’s Polly Joanna news clip, which definitely has a bit more variation to it when compared with Joanna’s regular, monotone style.
The long-form news style offers a more dynamic and engaging tone for the smart assistant.
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Unfortunately, the long-form speaking style is currently exclusive to the US, but we hope to see the feature land in the UK in the future.