The history and evolution of speech synthesis




Speech synthesis means the artificial creation of a human voice. A special text-to-speech (TTS) system automatically translates the written text into speech. Today, speech synthesis is used in many hardware and software products, as well as in manufacturing and alarm systems. In this article, we will look back at the history of speech synthesis and how it is used today.

The history of speech synthesis

The first mechanical speech synthesizer was developed by Charles Wheatstone in 1837. This event pushed forward the development of artificial speech synthesis systems.

A century later, in the 1930s, Bell Labs company developed the vocoder – a tool that analyzed the fundamental tones of human speech and synthesized the human voice. Today, vocoders are used particularly in music to produce robotic sounds

The first electronic speech synthesis systems were created in the late 1950s. In 1961, physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr along with Louis Gerstman used an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech. Kelly’s vocoder recreated the “Daisy Bell” song. This was the prominent event in the history of Bell Labs company.

In the 1970s, Tom Baer and Paul Mermelstein developed the first articulatory synthesizer based on the human vocal tract. And in the late 1980s, speaking machines lost their robotic sound and started to sound more human.  

Speech synthesis today

Today, speech synthesis technology is used everywhere to make our lives easier. The first thing that comes to mind is digital assistants like Siri or Alexa. It is also widely used in assistive technology, helping people with vision impairment. Moreover, thanks to the abundance of text-to-speech software, people can listen to the content of various kinds rather than read it.

Speech synthesis is used in eLearning, helping learners consume content by listening to it rather than reading, or by creating voiceovers for videos and learning prompts. The technology is also favored by marketers who create digital voices that represent the brand. 

Need help with crafting a perfect speech?

The technology of speech synthesis is developing rapidly, but the need for writing speech text for various occasions is not going anywhere. If you need a heartwarming speech for your high school graduation, professional or personal event, you can entrust this task to our experts. We will connect you with a specialist who will craft a perfect speech customized to your event and situation to help you achieve your goals.