Joao Paulo Cabral

Also published as: João P. Cabral


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Evaluating expressive speech synthesis from audiobook corpora for conversational phrases
Éva Székely | Joao Paulo Cabral | Mohamed Abou-Zleikha | Peter Cahill | Julie Carson-Berndsen
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12)

Audiobooks are a rich resource of large quantities of natural sounding, highly expressive speech. In our previous research we have shown that it is possible to detect different expressive voice styles represented in a particular audiobook, using unsupervised clustering to group the speech corpus of the audiobook into smaller subsets representing the detected voice styles. These subsets of corpora of different voice styles reflect the various ways a speaker uses their voice to express involvement and affect, or imitate characters. This study is an evaluation of the detection of voice styles in an audiobook in the application of expressive speech synthesis. A further aim of this study is to investigate the usability of audiobooks as a language resource for expressive speech synthesis of utterances of conversational speech. Two evaluations have been carried out to assess the effect of the genre transfer: transmitting expressive speech from read aloud literature to conversational phrases with the application of speech synthesis. The first evaluation revealed that listeners have different voice style preferences for a particular conversational phrase. The second evaluation showed that it is possible for users of speech synthesis systems to learn the characteristics of a voice style well enough to make reliable predictions about what a certain utterance will sound like when synthesised using that voice style.

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Rapidly Testing the Interaction Model of a Pronunciation Training System via Wizard-of-Oz
Joao Paulo Cabral | Mark Kane | Zeeshan Ahmed | Mohamed Abou-Zleikha | Éva Székely | Amalia Zahra | Kalu Ogbureke | Peter Cahill | Julie Carson-Berndsen | Stephan Schlögl
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12)

This paper describes a prototype of a computer-assisted pronunciation training system called MySpeech. The interface of the MySpeech system is web-based and it currently enables users to practice pronunciation by listening to speech spoken by native speakers and tuning their speech production to correct any mispronunciations detected by the system. This practice exercise is facilitated in different topics and difficulty levels. An experiment was conducted in this work that combines the MySpeech service with the WebWOZ Wizard-of-Oz platform (, in order to improve the human-computer interaction (HCI) of the service and the feedback that it provides to the user. The employed Wizard-of-Oz method enables a human (who acts as a wizard) to give feedback to the practising user, while the user is not aware that there is another person involved in the communication. This experiment permitted to quickly test an HCI model before its implementation on the MySpeech system. It also allowed to collect input data from the wizard that can be used to improve the proposed model. Another outcome of the experiment was the preliminary evaluation of the pronunciation learning service in terms of user satisfaction, which would be difficult to conduct before integrating the HCI part.

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WinkTalk: a demonstration of a multimodal speech synthesis platform linking facial expressions to expressive synthetic voices
Éva Székely | Zeeshan Ahmed | João P. Cabral | Julie Carson-Berndsen
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies