Microsoft text-to-speech voices
Microsoft Sam saying, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog 1,234,567,890 times", followed by a demonstration of a glitch that occurs when the letters SOI/SOY are entered
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The Microsoft text-to-speech voices are speech synthesizers provided for use with applications that use the Microsoft Speech API (SAPI) or the Microsoft Speech Server Platform. There are client, server, and mobile versions of Microsoft text-to-speech voices. Client voices are shipped with Windows operating systems; server voices are available for download for use with server applications such as Speech Server, Lync etc. for both Windows client and server platforms, and mobile voices are often shipped with more recent versions of Windows Phone.
Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary are optional male and female voices respectively, available for download from the Microsoft website. Michael and Michelle are also optional male and female voices licensed by Microsoft from Lernout & Hauspie, and available through Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2003 or Microsoft Reader.
There are both SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 versions of these text-to-speech voices. SAPI 5 voices are only available on Windows 2000 and later Windows NT-based operating systems. While SAPI 5 versions of Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary are downloadable only as a Merge Module, the installable versions may be installed on end users' systems by speech applications such as Microsoft Reader. SAPI 4 redistributable versions are downloadable for Windows 9x, although no longer from the Microsoft website.
Microsoft Sam, Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary can be used on Windows Vista and later with a third-party program (like Speakonia and TTSReader) installed on the machine that supports these operating systems, however, the speech patterns differ from the Windows XP versions of these voices. In addition, LH Michael and LH Michelle can work on Windows 7 and later if speakonia and the SAPI 4 version of the voices in British English is downloaded. However, there has been some proof that these voices are secretly named LH Carol and LH Peter. Microsoft Sam is the default voice for Windows 2000 and XP. Beginning with Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft Anna is the default English voice. It is a SAPI5-only female voice and is designed to sound more natural than Microsoft Sam. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 and later install the Microsoft Anna voice on Windows XP systems for the voice-prompt direction feature. There is no male voice shipping with Windows Vista and later. A voice called Microsoft Lili that replaces the earlier male SAPI5 voice "Microsoft Simplified Chinese" is available in Chinese versions of Windows Vista and later. It can also be obtained in non-Chinese versions of Windows 7 or Vista if the Ultimate Edition is used.
The Microsoft text-to-speech voices even caught popular culture via internet by videos of a voice, particularly Microsoft Sam reading error messages. They were either funny or out of the ordinary from a particular error message.
In 2010, Microsoft also released the newer Speech Platform compatible voices for Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech for use with client and server applications. These voices are available in 26 languages. and can be installed on Windows client and server operating systems. Speech Platform voices unlike SAPI 5 voices, are female-only, no male voices are released publicly yet.
In Windows 8, there are three new client (desktop) voices - Microsoft David (US male), Hazel (UK female) and Zira (US female) which sound more natural than the now-eliminated Microsoft Anna. The server versions of these voices are available via above mentioned Speech Platform for operating systems earlier than Windows 8. Unlike Windows 7 or Vista, you are unable to use any third-party program because there is no Anna Voice API for download. In Windows 8 language packs include more voices and 8.1 includes even more language pack voices. In Spanish versions of Windows 8.0, Microsoft Helena is the default text-to-speech voice and only selectable voice, unless upgrading to 8.1 which comes with Microsoft Sabina. Installing the UK edition of WIndows 8.1 does not include Microsoft David but adds Microsoft Heera. In Windows French 8 and 8.1 Microsoft Hortense is included. In Windows German 8 and 8.1 Microsoft Hedda is included. In Windows Japanese Microsoft Haruka is included. In Windows Korean 8 and 8.1 Microsoft Heami is included. In Windows Chinese Simplified Microsoft Hanhan and Microsoft Huihui are included. In Windows Chinese Traditional only for 8.1 Microsoft Tracy is included. In Windows Italian 8.1 Microsoft Elsa is included. In Windows Polish 8.1 only Microsoft Paulina is included. In Windows Portuguese 8.1 only Microsoft Maria is included. And finally in Windows Russian 8.1 only Microsoft Irina is included. These are all voices available for download on language packs, excluding in Windows 8.0 in which the Polish, Chinese traditional, Portuguese, Italian, English, Indian, Russian and Spanish Mexico voices can not be installed.
In Windows 10, Microsoft Hazel was removed from the US English Language Pack and the Microsoft voices for Mobile (Phone/tablet) are available (Microsoft Mark and Microsoft Zira). These are the same voices found on Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile. Alongside these voices language packs are also available for a variety of voices similar to that of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. None of these voices match the Microsoft Cortana Text-to-speech voice which can be found on Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Mobile. Since Microsoft is trying to make things universal with Windows 10, they decided to use all current text-to-speech voices cross-platform except for Microsoft David on the phone and a few other cases. For Mobile voices, all voices have been made universal and any user who downloads the language pack of that choice will have one extra male and female voice per that package. For example, if a user decided to download the English (UK) package, they will get a female voice (Microsoft Susan, which also sounds like Microsoft Hazel), and another male voice. Every mobile voice package always has the combination of male/female, while most of the desktop voice packages have only female voices.
- Speech SDK 5.1
- Chambers, Rob (August 29, 2006). "Microsoft Anna - The new TTS voice in Vista". MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved June 26, 2015.