Friday, October 7

They launch a campaign to ‘donate’ the voice to people with ALS

Stephen Hawking, suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Eph

There are already almost 500 people who have registered on the platform with the intention of ‘giving away’ their voice

EP Madrid

The Spanish company IRISBOND, together with AhoLab and its Bank of Voices from AhoMyTTS and some of the main Spanish ELA associations such as adELA, AgaELA, ELA Andalucía and withELA Confederación, ADELA-CV and ANELA, have launched the initiative ‘You give me your voice’ so that patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can express themselves with a synthetic voice more adapted to their preferences through their eye readers once they lose the ability to speak.

According to data from Aholab, almost 500 people have already registered on the platform with the intention of ‘giving away’ their voice. Of these, 200 new voices have already been created, which will be made available to patients soon.

The recording and voice records have been processed by a team of experts to generate a voice synthesizer endowed with a voice timbre similar to that of the donor recordings. Of the voices received, 60 percent of the voices given away are of good quality (44% are good quality voices and 16% are very good quality voices).

After a brief registration in AhoMyTTS, the donors have accessed a group of one hundred phrases, chosen to contain all the necessary phonemes. After recording those hundred phrases, the voice has been saved in the voice bank, where they are being classified by sex and age, and will be available to the ALS patient. The process has been designed in this way by data protection policy and there are license terms that limit the use of synthetic voice to personal communication.

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“We are very satisfied with the results of this campaign, it has been a great achievement for all of society for ALS patients, a disease that deprives them of the fundamental right of communication. Our objective was to contribute with a very extensive bank of phrases and that people who need to use them can access them for free. In addition, thanks to ‘Me regalas tu voz’ it has been possible to give visibility to this terrible disease that affects almost 4,000 people in Spain alone”, commented the founder of IRISBOND, Eduardo Jáuregui.

For her part, Eva Navas, from the HiTZ Basque Center for Language Technologies – Aholab Signal Processing Laboratory, was very happy “with the impact of the initiative”. “There has been a very noticeable spike in people wanting to donate their voice, but it has been sustained. We are working now with all the requests and most of the voices are coming out very well », she has detailed.

Among the voices given away are athletes such as the Real Sociedad soccer players Maddi Torre and Mikel Oyarzabal, the Real Madrid player Jesús Vallejo, the singer and presenter Roser Murillo or the cook Elena Arzak.

Likewise, many dubbing actors and actresses have also joined with some of the most famous voices, such as María Antonia Rodríguez Baltasar, who doubles Kim Basinger, Julianne Moore or Michelle Pfeiffer; the announcer and voice actor José Barreiro; Claudio Serrano, advertising announcer and voice actor for Otto from The Simpsons, Dr. Derek Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy or Batman from Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.

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They have also contributed their voice Iñaki Crespo, voice dubbing actor for Jason Isaacs and Michael Fassbender; José María del Río, who doubles as Kevin Spacey, Dennis Quaid, Pocoyo or David Attenborough; Paloma Porcel, to Sarah Jessica Parker; Concepción López Rojo, voice of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Juliette Binoche or Jennifer López; as well as other actors such as Ana Monleón, Ana González Soler, Sam Dávila, or Carlos Toral Conde. In addition to all these celebrities and famous voices, numerous radio and television journalists have also joined.

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