Thursday, February 8, 2018

Does Your Blog Have A Voice? It Can Now with Amazon's Pollycast

Today Amazon is launching a new Amazon Polly WordPress plugin that gives your blog a voice by creating audio versions of your posts. The resulting audio can be played from within the blog post itself, or accessed in podcast form using a feature called Amazon Pollycast.

The plugin itself was jointly designed by Amazon’s AWS team and managed WordPress platform provider WP Engine, and takes advantage of Amazon’s text-to-speech service, Polly.

Polly uses machine learning technologies to deliver more life-like speech. For example, Polly understands that the word “live” would be pronounced differently based on its usage. In the phrases “I live in Seattle” and “Live from New York,” the word is spelled the same but is not spoken in the same way. That means the voices sound more natural than some other, more basic voice-to-text engines.

The Polly speech engine supports 29 languages and its technology has added support for things like whispering, speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression. These sorts of voice technology advancements are also things that make Alexa sound more natural, too.

The launch of the WordPress plugin is not the first time Polly has been used to turn digital text to speech, of course. The service itself has always been capable of turning any text such as news articles, blog posts, RSS feeds, PDFs, and more into audio. However, making this functionality available as a WordPress plugin makes Polly more accessible to a wider audience.

However, the plugin is only available to anyone running their own installation of WordPress on their own infrastructure or on AWS, and does require a bit of configuration.

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