Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) is an XML-based markup language for speech synthesis applications. It is a recommendation of the W3C's voice browser working group. SSML is often embedded in VoiceXML scripts to drive interactive telephony systems. However, it also may be used alone, such as for creating audio books. For desktop applications, other markup languages are popular, including Apple's embedded speech commands, and Microsoft'sSAPIText to speech (TTS) markup, also an XML language.
SSML is based on the Java Speech Markup Language (JSML) developed by Sun Microsystems, although the current recommendation was developed mostly by speech synthesis vendors. It covers virtually all aspects of synthesis, although some areas have been left unspecified, so each vendor accepts a different variant of the language. Also, in the absence of markup, the synthesizer is expected to do its own interpretation of the text. So SSML is not a strict standard in the sense of C, or even HTML.