IVONA Text-to-speech Program Rocks CeBIT

by Mark R


At CeBIT, one of the biggest Information Tech events in the world, a text-to-speech program named IVONA made quite a splash.

IVONA is made by IVO Software, and the demonstration at CeBIT had four voices in three different languages. “Ewa” and “Jacek” spoke fluent Polish, and “Carmen” was Romanian. One of the most popular speakers was “Jennifer” who spoke fluent US English.

This demonstration is still going online. If you go to www.ivona.com, you can have a chance to try IVONA in the aforementioned three languages. The best part is you can type in any text you want, and then have it spoken back to you. I tried typing a few select phrases on Jennifer, and I found that “she” was able to speak with some interesting tonal inflections.

I thought that Jennifer sounded like an artificial Uma Thurman, so I took the liberty of inputting a few choice lines from Pulp Fiction. Jennifer almost did Mrs. Mia Wallace’s description of “Fox Force Five” pretty well, but there was still a distinct ersatz automation to IVONA that will probably take a few years before it is completely hammered out.

The purpose of the IVONA is to be used on such programs such as presentations, audiobooks, announcement systems, and other artificial prompts. It appears that IVO Software has taken another step closer to creating an artificial voice that is as close to a human as possible. One can’t help but wonder what is next.


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