The phonetic and phonological transcriber for Spanish developed by Daedalus is now available in our showroom page.
Tools of this type currently offer different applications:
- First of all, they constitute the first module of all voice synthesis systems. Indeed, current systems called TTS (Text to Speech) necessarily include a first component that performs the conversion of text to its phonetic representation. Through other components, the phonetic transcriptions are replaced by acoustic material consisting of the physical realization of the sounds. Voice recognition systems work in a similar, but opposite sense.
- Transcribers are also an essential tool in philology. First, for training purposes, i.e. for philology students who must learn to transcribe texts correctly. Then, as helpful tools in the professional field: philologists do have to transcribe “by ear” to give account of the phenomena not covered by the standard description of the phonological and phonetic levels of the language, but these tools can also serve as starting point for the ‘standard’ initial transcription, which will be subsequently revised and corrected. In this sense, transcribers are especially useful in the context of Dialectology and its related branches, as well as in the science known as Historical Phonology. Current transcribers tend to adjust to a standard pronunciation, as stated above, and they are conceived only from a synchronic point of view; however, they are often configurable through different variables that allow different levels of transcription. In this regard, our transcriber enables a certain (small, actually) synchronic parameterization, being it phonetic, phonological or etymological.
- Transcribers are also particularly useful for learning foreign languages, because they provide the notation (with a higher or lower level of detail) of the actual pronunciation of texts. In fact, it is frequent that foreigner-oriented dictionaries include a phonetic transcription (usually encoded in a very simplified IPA) of each one of the words.
Our phonetic and phonological transcriber offers the phonetic transcription of text in Spanish in various well-known phonetic alphabets:
IPA: International Phonetic Alphabet.
RFE: Alphabet of the Revista de Filología Española, the phonetic alphabet used in Spain in the field of philology until recently. Currently it competes in this area with the IPA.
Computing-Oriented Phonetic Alphabets: Phonetic alphabets based on ASCII characters, allowing the further processing of text using computer programs.
- DEFSFE: Alphabet proposed by Antonio Ríos, from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (see alphabet).
- SAMPA (Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet): Phonetic alphabet based on the IPA. We take into account also the SAMPROSA specifications (SAM Prosodic Alphabet).
- SALA (SpeechDat across Latin America): SAMPA adaptation for the transcription of Latin American Spanish.
- WORLDBET: Alphabet based on IPA with additional symbols.
- VIA: Alphabet of ViaVoice, commercial application for voice recognition.
For more information about the different alphabets, you can access the following links:
- Transcription and phonetic representation systems for oral corpora
- The segmental phonetic representation of oral corpora
Our tool also offers a phonological transcription of text, which is of little use for automated TTS systems as the ones mentioned above, but it is certainly useful in the field of philology, especially in the context of the classical philological currents known as functionalism and structuralism, although on a purely didactic level.
In terms of logical architecture, the transcriber consists of the following modules:
- Preprocessing module: embeds different sub-modules that preprocess the input text eliminating unnecessary characters, identifying breaks, expanding numbers, etc., thus generating a standard text.
- Syllabification module: applies an algorithm that breaks down the terms of the text into syllables.
- Accent module: places the phonetic accents on the terms of the text.
- Phonetic transcriber module: performs the actual phonetic transcription applying a set of rules that, depending on the phonetic and pragmatic context (the latter selected through the options of the interface, as well as some phonetic neutralizations), allow the identification of the correct allophone.
- Phonological transcriber module: performs the phonological transcription.
Our phonetic transcriber also offers different transcription options:
- Preprocessing: process or not abbreviations, symbols, numbers, Roman numerals.
- Syllabification: syllabify or not terms, phonetically or phonologically.
- Vocalism: mark the nasal allophones of vowels.
- Consonants: transcribe considering the linguistic phenomenon known as yeísmo or without it; phonetic neutralization of /B/ /D/ /G/.
Other options: mark synalephas, place accents on vowels (for the RFE, basically).