New opening for one PhD position in the area of adaptation for speech synthesis in Swiss languages.

The Idiap Research Institute seeks qualified candidates for one PhD position in the area of adaptation for speech synthesis in Swiss languages.

In HMM based text to speech synthesis (TTS), it has been shown that models can be built from a large number of speakers resulting in an "average voice". This average voice can subsequently be adapted to sound like a different speaker given a small amount of adaptation data. It is well known that mappings can be built from language-specific to speaker-specific.

Swiss communication is highly dependent upon region, both in a language sense and a dialect and accent sense. This regional aspect represents an intermediate level between language and speaker.

In this project, we aim to build mappings at this intermediate level. This will involve beginning with a well-trained language-specific model and adapting it to a specific region or accent. These adapted models will form the basis for fast adaptation to speaker, and will in themselves be useful for localised anonymous TTS.

Further, we aim to build cross-lingual mappings. Such mappings will be enabled by the availability of bilingual speakers in Switzerland. Data from such speakers will both enable language-dependent (speaker-independent) mappings, and allow synthetic speech from adapted models to be evaluated.

During the first year of the project, a database will be collected in collaboration with the University of Geneva. The successful candidate will be expected to assist with the database preparation.

The position is conditional upon the applicant being accepted into an EPFL doctoral programme. To this end, applicants should possess a masters degree in a relevant numerate subject. Strong computer skills are also essential. Given the focus on Swiss languages, preference will be given to a native speaker of one or more of the main Swiss languages (German, French or Italian). The candidates should also demonstrate good communication and writing skills in English. The start date is expected to be around October 2012; the postion will remain open until filled.

More info about the position can be found on our "Idiap online recruitment system"