This resource provides information about voice and message banking and has been updated in September 2020 to include some of the newer voice banking (personalised synthetic speech) options.
Voice and message banking is the process of recording and storing an individual’s voice that can then be used to support communication.
There are two main types of voice banking:
- Message (Word and Phrase) recordings – ‘Message Banking’
- Creating a personalised synthesised voice – ‘Voice Banking’
Both types of banking can be used as an effective communication tool.
The recordings of words/phrases can be used to speak a message from a smart phone, computer, or tablet, or via a communication software package.
A synthesised voice can be downloaded onto specific communication software packages. This gives the option of having a more personalised voice, rather than the standard computer-generated voices that are more typically available.
There are a number of other useful sources of information on voice and message banking, including:
- the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists www.rcslt.org/speech-and-language-therapy/clinical-information/voice-banking
- Boston Children’s Hospital and the work of John Costello: www.childrenshospital.org/programs/als-augmentative-communication-program/protocol-assessment-considerations/voice-preservation
- The Motor Neurone Disease Association: www.mndassociation.org/support-and-information/living-with-mnd/speech-and-communication/ & www.mndassociation.org/professionals/management-of-mnd/aac-for-mnd/voice-banking/
- The MSA Trust: https://www.msatrust.org.uk/support-for-you/for-people-affected-by-msa/speakunique/
Please also note – there are other techniques and approaches to personalising communication – for example in personalising the words and phrases used and stored, and in making recordings of speech for legacy or other reasons.
The following clips provide an example of the synthesised voices produced by the different systems, recorded by our colleagues Nicola and Sally.
Natural Speech (Nicola)
Speak Unique Synthesised Speech (Nicola)
Voice Keeper Synthesised Speech (Nicola)
ModelTalker Synthesised Speech (Nicola)
‘My Own Voice’ Synthesised Speech (Nicola)
ModelTalker Synthesised Speech (Sally)
‘My Own Voice’ Synthesised Speech (Sally)
Pronunciation Issues with Synthetic Speech
With all synthetic speech there can be problems with how the system says certain words, particularly names and unusual words. In this example you can see how Nicola’s synthesised voice pronounces ‘pronunciation’ and ‘Meadowhall’.