Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering

The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group

Hear In Your Language in Office 2010

Hear In Your Language in Office 2010

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Hello, my name is Kate Kelly; I am a Program Manager in the Office Global Experience Platform (GXP). In Office 2010, GXP focused on features designed for customers working in multiple languages, such as updating Language Preferences and adding translation tools to Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote.

In Office 2010, one of our new features is an on-the-fly translation feature called Mini Translator . The Mini Translator allows you to translate single words or many paragraphs simply by hovering over the text that you want to translate. Mini Translator also includes the ability to Speak that text using Microsoft’s Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine.

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We have also enabled Speak for the Quick Access Toolbar and the Customize Ribbon Options. Customers who rely on TTS can add the Speak button to either of these and have quick access to Speak at any time (via the mouse or a keyboard shortcut).

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One of the key pieces of feedback we received from customers was that you wanted more languages for Speak. We teamed up with the Microsoft Speech Technologies team to make this possible. With the RTM version of Office 2010, expected sometime in June, you will be able to download and use the Speech Platform and additional TTS engines from the Microsoft Download Center.

Speak will recognize the language of the text you select and checks if you have that Text-to-Speech language, either from a built-in Windows TTS engine, 3rd party engine, or a TTS engine from the Download Center.

For example, I have the English TTS engine installed, but not the Chinese TTS engine. When I hover over the Chinese text, the Speak button is not available; however when I hover over the English text the Speak button is enabled.

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In addition to the improved user experience for international users, we believe that the Speak feature is a great investment that reinforces Office’s commitment to accessibility as well. You can learn more about other accessibility investments we made in Office 2010 in Larry’s great post.

And you can learn more about how to use Speak in the “Using the Speak feature with Multilingual TTS” article on Office.com.

Note about duplicate TTS languages: if you have a 3rd party TTS engine already installed on your computer, Speak will use that TTS engine rather than the Microsoft TTS engines you can install from the Download Center. For example, if I have a German TTS engine from a 3rd party product and I also install the German Microsoft TTS engine from the Download Center, the 3rd party TTS engine will always be used. If I uninstall the 3rd party TTS engine, Speak will start using the TTS engine from the Download Center. This way, by downloading new TTS engines from the Download Center you will always be able to ensure maximum readability, while not sacrificing interoperability with built-in or 3rd party engines.

We hope you’re as excited about this new feature as we are – use the comments to let us know what you think and how you might use this feature for your work.

Kate Kelly, Program Manager, Microsoft Office

Comments
  • I just "found" this feature all on my own over the weekend. I was looking for it in the Excel 2010 beta, so I decided just for the heck of it to see if it was in Word also.  And it was.

    I look forward to using it for "proof reading".  Let word read text back to me so I can verify all of the content (I have habit of skipping over stuff and "filling-in-the-blanks" when reading silently.

    The funny part was that while it is a new feature in Word, it worked just fine, but in Excel where there has been a text to speech feature for several versions, using the feature crashed the app.

    One thing I noticed was that looking through the rest of the office apps the feature name was inconsistent.  Come on, the whole idea of bundling apps into a suite was to provide a common user interface to make it easier for users to move between apps.  If you keep changing the name of commands/features how can people be expected to find them?

  •     Is the "Speak" feature in the Mini Translator available for use in a copy of Office 2010 running over Windows XP?  I know that in Office 2007 you guys as a company moved all speech-related features into Windows Vista and 7 and simply implemented them in Office.  Is TTS available in Windows XP?  Is there a way to get it if not?  Are there any other features that are implemented in Office 2010 but actually embedded in Windows Vista and/or 7?  Is there any way to get them back via some sort of plug-in that adds these features to Windows XP?  It would be nice if all future Office releases had patches for operating systems previous to Windows Vista and 7 containing the features implemented in Office but not in the base OS so that users of said OSes could enjoy the full Office experience.  

  • You mentioned the translator is available for Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote.  What about Excel?  I get financial statements in Spanish.

  • Yes, firstly please clarify whether Windows XP users wil get Text to Speech engines. Also the above links are to the server speech engines and voices. These server voices will work in Office 2010 RTM or will there be separate client voices? Lastly, why are these voices not being offered as standard Windows TTS voices similar to Anna?

  • These are only text to speech features. What about speech **recognition**?

  • Bitte wer kann mir helfen? Bei Office 2010 erhalte ich die Fehlermeldung:  

    DPF Initialization failed Error code2

  • this is an interesting improvement. tts engine is exciting in deed

  • Didn't we have this in earlier versions of Office?  I remember it was removed in office 2010, but...

  • ini sunguh sangat menarik dan sangat membantu dalam melakukan pekerjaan. terima kasih banyak

  • Как включить новый голос? Я до сих пор только получить microsoft Сэма.  Я хочу эти проклятые программы пришли с REAL руководства или одно, что вы можете купить на BN.com или Амазонкы... или то, что рассказывает вам о всех опрятное новые вещи, они считали пиявка больше денег из вашего кармана с новой версией.  Благодарю вас всех.  

    How do you enable the new voice? I still only get microsoft sam.  I wish these damned programs came with a REAL manual or one that you can buy at BN.com or Amazon...or SOMEWHERE that tells you about all the neat new stuff they thought of to leech more money out of your pocket with the new version.  Thank you all.  

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