What is ModelTalker?
The ModelTalker System is a revolutionary speech synthesis software package developed by the Nemours Speech Research Laboratory and designed to benefit people who are losing or who have already lost their ability to speak. It allows people who use a Speech Generating Device (SGD) to communicate with a unique personal synthetic voice that is representative of their own voice.
To learn more, see the FAQ section under Help, or select an option under our Voices menu to get started right away!
4/23/18 — Problems with Chrome…
We have been receiving reports of users having difficult with the online recorder when using the latest version of Chrome [Google 66.0.3359.117(official build) (64-bit)]. The error users are reporting says: Error capturing audio: message=null name=OverconstrainedError constraintName=undefined. We are looking into the cause of this and will report here as soon as we have identified and fixed the problem.
3/13/18 — Inactive Voice Inventories
Some voice bankers start recording their full inventory, but then seem to discontinue recording. Because recordings take up space on our server that other users may need, we will be instituting a policy of backing off inventories from our server that have been inactive for a long time. We will be introducing this process gradually over the next several weeks. DON’T WORRY!! We will not delete anyone’s recordings. Inactive inventories will just be moved to a safe location and can be restored at any time.
We understand that it is easy to become engaged with other more immediate needs and not have an opportunity to return to complete voice banking for an extended period of time. If you record even a little bit every few months, your inventory will be considered active and remain on the live site. If you happen to be away long enough (at least half a year) that your recordings seem to have disappeared, just let us know and we will be able to restore them quickly.
We also understand that some people find the task too demanding to complete all the sentences we recommend. If you are in this category, please do let us know. We are sometimes able to build usable voices from substantially fewer than 1600 sentences and would be happy to discuss this possibility with you.
1/31/18 — Team Gleason Supports ModelTalker Voice Banking!
Starting February 1, 2018, if you do not have other support, Team Gleason has generously offered to provide support for ModelTalker voice bankers who are US citizens with a confirmed diagnosis of ALS. Persons with ALS who complete the Team Gleason application on our website and are approved by Team Gleason will be able to download their completed ModelTalker voices for free. Visit the Team Gleason announcement for a custom link to register and request support from Team Gleason.
1/21/18 — Online Recorder Downtime Completed
Our service is completed and the website should now be fully functional once again. We have replaced the previous version of the online recorder with a new updated version that has many new features and a somewhat different look and feel. See our Online Recorder Overview for a summary of the changes we have introduced.
We tested the new recorder internally before releasing the changes, but as with any new complex software, there may be some problems we are not presently aware of. Please let us know if you experience any problems with the new interface.
12/21/17 — Happy Solstice! New features coming soon!
Whether your day is short or long, this is just a heads-up so you will not be surprised by some changes we will introduce in the near future. We have been working on some improvements to the online voice recorder to make it easier for you to review sentences that have already been recorded and keep track of which ones you might want to try to improve. Soon (possibly as early as next week) we will update the online recorder to show you a list of all the sentences you have recorded in a table below the recorder controls. You will be able to sort the list of sentences in a variety of ways and search for sentences containing specific content. There will be indicators for how optimal the recording is for amplitude, speaking rate, and pronunciation. And you will be able to listen to your recording, or select the sentence to rerecord.
12/8/17 — changes complete
We have completed making changes to the registration process. We have added a new registration category of “proxy” for people registering to provide a voice for a specific individual and simplified the registration process. Please let us know if you encounter any problems.
12/6/17 – Brief system downtimes
Our server team has warned us that there may be a period of 30 – 60 minutes tomorrow morning starting at around 8am EST (1pm GMT) where some services (e.g., downloads of Windows voice installers) are unavailable. If you are unable to download a windows voice, please try again later.
Additionally, we plan to have the ModelTalker.org website inactive for about two hours starting at 9pm US Eastern Standard time (2am, 12/9/17 GMT). The downtime will allow us to make a few changes to the website and registration process. Please avoid attempting to login during that time period.
Our apology for any inconvenience!
6/30/17 – Terms of Service Change Effective 07/01/17 12:01 AM EST
New registrations beginning Saturday 12:01 AM 07/01/17 US Eastern Daylight Time (5:01 am London; 14:01 pm Sydney; 16:01 pm Christchurch) for voice banking clients who want to create and download a personalized voice there will be a $100.00 USD fee to enable the download of completed voices. There will be no change for users who have registered prior to that time. At present, we are continuing the “no charge” policy for voice donors and for clinicians and those registering to learn about the technology so they can assist others. See our Fee Policy FAQ for more details.
6/1/2017 – Changes coming to our service!
For many years, we have provided ModelTalker voices to persons with communication needs for free as an adjunct to our research program. However, as demand for voice banking has grown over the last few years, it is no longer practical for us to meet the increased demand without offsetting staff costs. Consequently, for people registering and beginning the voice banking process after July 1, 2017, we will be charging $100 USD for users to enable download of completed voices.
If you are currently in the process of banking your voice, you will not be charged. Once we begin charging, the registration, recording, and auditioning process will continue exactly as they are now. However, after auditioning your voice, if you are pleased with the result, you will be charged to unlock the download capability. Once downloads are unlocked, there will be no restrictions on the number of downloads for different platforms and you will be eligible for voice upgrades if technology improvements warrant and if we have copies of your original speech recordings.
We will be updating our Fee Policy FAQ and other pages with more information about this change in the coming days, but wanted to be sure the word gets out as quickly as possible. Crucially, we are in discussion with a number of charitable organizations to determine what assistance they may be able to provide to users for whom this charge will be a hardship and will post more information about those opportunities as it becomes available.
5/2/2017 – MTVR update
We have posted a minor version update to the Windows MTVR program to correct several issues:
- Changed a prompt that started with “Look like she…” to the more grammatical “Looks like she…”
- Fixed a bug that sometimes created files with names like *.mp3.wav, which could then interfere with prompt playback.
- Replaced some old references to “modeltalker.com” with references to “modeltalker.org”
- Added Microsoft code signing to MTVR and its components so users will no longer receive a warning that the program is from an untrusted source. The developer will be listed as AgoraNet, Inc., which is the company that maintains our website and software.
Clinics using MTVR should update their software when convenient. Current personal or one-time users of MTVR do not need to update to this version unless they are experiencing problems that could be related to one of these issues.
4/6/2017 – Voice Auditioning
We are introducing a new feature that will allow users to have more say in the process of constructing their synthetic voice. In our lab, we create multiple versions of each user’s voice and then test them to see which one seems best. Our final choice becomes the voice we return to the user. We have now set up a process where users can audition the multiple versions of their voice and help us decide which version sounds best to them. See Voices > Auditioning for more information.
1/19/2017 – Automating Custom Inventories!
Users often ask if they can send us some names and/or phrases to record as part of the voice banking process. It is now possible to create your own custom inventory to record along with our standard inventories for voice banking. At any time while recording your full voice banking inventory, you can select Session > Custom Inventory. This will allow you to enter some names and phrases that you especially want your voice to be able to pronounce correctly. Custom sentences generated from the words and phrases you enter will automatically be added to the end of your active inventory, ready for you to record before we build your voice.