Amsterdam, Netherlands (ots-PRNewswire) - Enhanced User Interface
for Software Applications and Web Sites to Speak To Millions of Users
Worldwide in Their Own Languages.
Today at TechEd Amsterdam, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
announced the immediate availability of new foreign language
text-to-speech (TTS) engines for use with Microsoft(R) Agent 2.0, a
technology that provides a more natural way for people to work with
their computers. The release of these engines will enhance the appeal
of the technology to international markets where British English,
Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese
(Brazilian), Russian and Spanish are spoken. Like the Microsoft Agent
software, the new TTS engines can be downloaded for free from the
Internet at http://www.microsoft.com/msagent
Microsoft Agent provides developers with software services that
enable them to include interactive, animated characters in their
applications and Web pages. These characters can extend and enhance
the conventional user interface of computer software by serving as
speaking assistants, tutors, guides, messengers or entertainers.
Microsoft Agent supports automated lip-synched spoken output for
animated characters using TTS engines -- software that transforms raw
text, either programmed from an application or retrieved from a data
source, into audio output heard by the computer user. TTS engines are
commonly specific to a single language, and the original TTS engine
included with the Microsoft Agent software supported only American
English speech output. Major speech-technology vendors also provide
speech engines for English and other languages compatible with
Microsoft Agent. The newly released text-to-speech engines for use
with Microsoft Agent are licensed from Lernout & Hauspie, a leader in
advanced speech and language solutions.
"We are very excited about releasing text-to-speech engines in 10
additional languages to enhance support for millions of users," said
Tandy Trower, general manager of the Advanced User Interface Design
Group that developed Microsoft Agent. "While Microsoft Agent
characters can be programmed to speak using just text in a word
balloon or recorded audio, text-to-speech provides developers with a
very flexible form of output that can significantly enhance the user
experience as well."
These speech engines will also be included on many new computers
with the Windows(R) Millennium Edition (Windows Me) operating system,
scheduled to be available late this summer. Microsoft Agent and its
Merlin character will greet and assist computer users with the
initial startup configuration process when they first turn on their
new computer. Merlin will provide step-by-step assistance to computer
novices during tasks such as registering, learning to use the mouse
and connecting to the Internet.
In addition, Microsoft Agent is preinstalled with all versions of
the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system and Microsoft Office 2000
applications. The software has been downloaded by more than 4 million
users from the update sites for the Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98
and Windows NT(R) operating systems. Microsoft Agent technology is
also distributed by independent software vendors, major corporations,
governments, educational institutions and many others to enhance
their Web sites and applications.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software,
services and Internet technologies for personal and business
computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services
designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any
place and on any device.
NOTE: Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are either registered
trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States
and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products
mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
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