Google Text-To-Speech Gets New Languages, Tweaks

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Google’s default text-to-speech tool has received a new update that adds in six new languages, improvements to voices across the board, an option to turn off number processing and hear a more literal reading of things like dates and values, and intonation control for text in a wider range of languages and voices. The new languages are Bangla, Czech, Khmer, Nepali, Sinhala and Ukrainian. Google does not go into detail about the under the hood improvements, nor do they say what new languages and voices get intonation control. The newest update to Google Text-To-Speech brings many features, but not a fixed version number; different devices will still get different versions and sizes depending on their Android version and other aspects of their hardware and software, but all versions should have these new features.

The addition of the new languages brings the total number of supported languages for Google Text-To-Speech up to 35, including various dialects, with English having the most variants. The new languages also mean that the tool has near-worldwide coverage at this point, with the new languages bridging a gap in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia. Intonation control is slowly spreading, and is already available for most variations of English. While most languages are covered, Google’s text to speech tool is still missing some more obscure languages and dialects, as well as languages and dialects that could be useful in an academic setting, such as ancient languages and Latin.

Google Text-To-Speech has been around since the Android 1.6 (Donut) days in some form, and has been updated constantly behind the scenes. The tool hit the Play Store and began getting updates there back in 2013, at which time it was revamped, boasting better quality than most other solutions on the market and serving as a de facto replacement for the packed-in text to speech engines that most OEMs packaged with their phones. Recent updates have seen the tool gain new languages, read users’ Google Play Books collections aloud, and sound more natural and clear. With intonation control rolling out alongside pitch and speed control, users will eventually be able to customize exactly how their device reads things to them in any language.