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In view of the fact that Arabic omits the diacritics for short vowels and the like, does this pose an extra challenge for text to speech systems for the Arabic language? How easy is it to resolve these challenges?

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No, lack of vowels or diacritic vowel marks is not a particular problem for text-to-speech systems, which usually make use of a dictionary of phonetic transcriptions anyway.

Very few languages have a so tight mapping between writing and speech that correct pronounciation can be deduced by its written representation alone. Without a phonetic transcription dictionary, even English would be nearly impossible to pronounce. Just compare words like earth, hear, heart and break and then try to find a rule for how 'ea' is supposed to be pronounced.

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  • FYI, text to speech for the Saami languages is rule-based, so those are some of the lucky few. Actually, most languages would allow rule-based synthesis, just not the economically-valuable ones like English, which have sad spelling systems. – user6726 Oct 5 '16 at 17:36
  • But Arabic has manyhomophones (words written the same, but with different pronunciations according to context), and FWIK, powerhouse at least 20% of words have two or more different pronunciations with different meanings. – Jack Maddington Oct 7 '16 at 8:31
  • If Arabic TTS is feasible, then why can't I find any good Arabic TTS system on Google Play. I know this is of roux obj this forum, but I am quite desperate for one. – Jack Maddington Oct 7 '16 at 8:32
  • Take wurd, ward, and wird, which are written the same, or bard and bird. – Jack Maddington Oct 7 '16 at 8:33
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    @JackMaddington There is Arabic TTS integrated in Google Translate: translate.google.com You don't have to use the translator, but can simply type Arabic in the "translate from" box and then click on the speaker symbol. I can't judge how good it is though. – jarnbjo Oct 7 '16 at 11:30

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