Proceedings chapter
Open access

Using the LARA Little Prince to compare human and TTS audio quality

Published inProceedings of the 13th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2022), Editors Nicoletta Calzolari, Frédéric Béchet, Philippe Blache, Khalid Choukri, Christopher Cieri, Thierry Declerck, Sara Goggi, Hitoshi Isahara, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Hélène Mazo, Jan Odijk, Stelios Piperidis, p. 2967-2975
Presented at Marseille, 20-25 juin 2022
PublisherMarseille, France : European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Publication date2022

A popular idea in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) is to use multimodal annotated texts, with annotations typically including embedded audio and translations, to support L2 learning through reading. An important question is how to create good quality audio, which can be done either through human recording or by a Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine. We may reasonably expect TTS to be quicker and easier, but human to be of higher quality. Here, we report a study using the open source LARA platform and ten languages. Samples of audio totalling about five minutes, representing the same four passages taken from LARA versions of Saint-Exupèry’s “Le petit prince”, were provided for each language in both human and TTS form; the passages were chosen to instantiate the 2x2 cross product of the conditions dialogue, not-dialogue and humour, not-humour. 251 subjects used a web form to compare human and TTS versions of each item and rate the voices as a whole. For the three languages where TTS did best, English, French and Irish, the evidence from this study and the previous one it extended suggest that TTS audio is now pedagogically adequate and roughly comparable with a non-professional human voice in terms of exemplifying correct pronunciation and prosody. It was however still judged substantially less natural and less pleasant to listen to. No clear evidence was found to support the hypothesis that dialogue and humour pose special problems for TTS. All data and software will be made freely available.

  • TTS
  • Evaluation
  • Multimodality
  • Reading
  • Emotion
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
AKHLAGHI, Elham et al. Using the LARA Little Prince to compare human and TTS audio quality. In: Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2022). Marseille. Marseille, France : European Language Resources Association (ELRA), 2022. p. 2967–2975.
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Proceedings chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:164899

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