Websites that speak
The Welsh Language Board / Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg recently added a text-to-speech facility to their website which reads out the text in either Welsh or English. They are using a system called ReadSpeaker, which can make your website talk in various languages, including Japanese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English (US and UK), French, German, Dutch, Italian, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese and Welsh. The ReadSpeaker website itself has been translated into quite a few languages and has the text-to-speech facility for most of them.
Text-to-speech technology for English and other major European languages, and for a few Asian ones, has been around for years and works quite well. However I think Welsh version is quite new and could do with more work to improve the voice quality and intonation.
Here is an example of it reading the following text:
Iaith Geltaidd yw’r Gymraeg, sy’n perthyn yn agos at y Gernyweg a’r Llydaweg. Mae’r Gymraeg sy’n cael ei siarad heddiw yn ddatblygiad uniongyrchol i iaith y chweched ganrif.
Ychydig iawn o enghreifftiau ysgrifenedig o Gymraeg Cynnar sy’n bodoli heddiw, gyda’r cynharaf yn dyddio o ganol y nawfed ganrif. Gwelir nodweddion Hen Gymraeg yng ngwaith y Cynfeirdd, sy’n dyddio o ddiwedd y chweched ganrif, er fod y llawysgrifau’n llawer mwy diweddar.
Welsh is a Celtic language, closely related to Cornish and Breton. The Welsh we speak today is directly descended from the language of the sixth century.
Very few examples of Early Welsh exist today, with the earliest dating back to the middle of the ninth century. Elements of Old Welsh are seen in the work of the Cynfeirdd, originally dating back to the sixth century, although all manuscripts are much later than this date.