Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) is a markup language used for speech synthesis applications that is based on XML–the set of rules used to encode documents electronically. SSML is one of three of these types of markup languages that allow for voice created functionality within Internet browsers and email programs. The ultimate goal of SSML is to provide applications that enable a person to–instead of having to use a mouse and a keyboard–use their voice to offer commands for tasks such as searching the Web, responding to email and appreciating the content on different sites.
SSML and Telephony
SSML is utilized with interactive telephone applications. For example, should the person want English and they press the number 1, that information is given. Should the person want Spanish, they press 2 and that information is provided. This application of SSML allows for incredibly sound clarity. On top of that, SSML ensures that the audio signal is both concise and free of translation issues. This ensures that the quality of the sound is pristine and that the sound travels from point to point with ease.
SSML for Books and Text
Another application of SSML is the creation of audio books. In other words, this synthesis software makes it possible for a book that was written in text to be quickly converted into the spoken word. The result of this is that people who would not be able to enjoy a book because of problems with their eyes cannot appreciate a book. However, more important than the fact that it helps is that it can help cut the cost of audio books. By having this program available, it means that more obscure books that might not be mass produced in audio format can still be appreciated.
The benefit of SSML, though, is not so much that it can take a written word and convert it to the spoken word. Instead, it can add the necessary annotations that make the text sound unique to the individual person. For example, someone from America might have a hard time understanding a text written by an Indian and vice versa. What SSML allows is for the accent to be manipulated so that it sits better with the person. Depending on one’s geographic location determines how the SSML adds annotations to benefit the pronunciation of the words.