Here we describe a speech-synthesis method using templates that can generate recording-sentence sets for speech databases and produce natural sounding synthesized speech. Applying this method to the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) weather report radio program reduced the size of the recording-sentence set required to just a fraction of that needed by a comparable method. After integrating the recording voice of the generated recording-sentence set into the speech database, speech was produced by a voice synthesizer using templates. In a paired-comparison test, 66% of the speech samples synthesized by our system using templates were preferred to those produced by a conventional voice synthesizer. In an evaluation test using a five-point mean opinion score (MOS) scale, the speech samples synthesized by our system scored 4.97, whereas the maximum score for commercially available voice synthesizers was 3.09. In addition, we developed an automatic broadcast system for the weather report program using the speech-synthesis method and speech-rate converter. The system was evaluated using real weather data for more than 1 year, and exhibited sufficient stability and synthesized speech quality for broadcast purposes.
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