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Dec. 16, 2015, 11:44 a.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.bbc.co.uk  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   December 16, 2015

The BBC on Wednesday announced a “virtual voiceover” technology pilot, “Today in Video,” to transmit short video news packages in multiple languages, “using automatic translation and synthetic voice technology.”

Here’s a bit on how it works:

The tool, built by BBC News Labs, amalgamates existing technologies and allows a single editor to generate multi-lingual voiceovers on top of an existing video package and script. The script is translated automatically, edited by a journalist, and converted into a computer-generated voiceover. As the project develops automatic subtitles will be added.

The pilot is launching with support for Russian and Japanese. “We know there is a real need for impartial news in Russia,” a spokeswoman told me. The choice was also influenced by the availability of synthetic voices; not all languages are currently available.

Here’s a video of how it looks in action; the journalist can choose his or her favorite synthetic voices, with male and female options.

You can also watch that above video, translated into Japanese and including some subtitles, here.

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