Re: T.E.O.'s Draft--Cascading Speech Style Sheets

David Seibert (
Wed, 28 Feb 1996 13:00:32 -0500 (EST)

On Wed, 28 Feb 1996, JuanJo Miguez wrote:

> Dear Raman:
> We agree with you that is a simple proposal. That's what we want to make
> it easy to use so that people with few knowledge about speech could not
> choose wrong parameters.

If you want to make your system easy to use and still allow authors to
express themselves well, you should allow authors to specify the options
in terms of natural language choices. Are the author of a document and
its readers supposed to agree on what a volume of "8" means? I would
think that would be much better expressed by words such as "loud", rather
than by numbers. Most non-technical people much prefer using words to

> It's oriented to the actual devices, the ones that
> most people can afford. It's something neccesary for many people and they
> need it as soon as possible. It's the difference between knowing about
> the information in the Web or nothing about it.

I don't know what equipment most people have available, but certainly
this problem could be resolved most easily by including all of the
features of the speech style sheets and just having UAs ignore the
features they cannot support, right? That's essentially what should
happen with visual browsers, which are supposed to ignore features that
they haven't implemented.

> If we tried to make a complicated definition of the speech, perhaps we would
> agree with you, but we are trying to make it simple, useful and very easy to
> change from one definition to another by the user. We think this way is easier
> than the number of decibels, where the user should know to make his own style
> sheet how what decibels are. In fact really few people know about this
> (engineers, Physics and so on). To make it easy we let people decide between
> a set of relative values that will be mapped by expert people to the real
> values in the synthesizer.

Great, you apparently agree with what I said above. However, why
restrict yourself to using numbers? This is unnatural for most people,
who will think "loud" or "soft" (or the equivalents in their language)
*long* before they come up with a number? I'm a theoretical physicist,
and I would still rather define most speech properties with words rather
than numbers.

> We prefer to let
> people choose a relative number than an exact and perhaps wrong number
> of average pitch for example.

In the best system, you would allow both descriptive words (which can be
defined by the user, or by some expert on his speech generator) and
absolute numbers. That way, experts will have the precision that they
want, and authors will have the programming ease that they want.


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