Amazon launches a TTS Plugin for WordPress That Turns Blog Posts Into Podcasts
The phrase Amazon Polly may bring to mind Amazon’s dominance of the book market, but it is actually a text-to-speech platform that Amazon launched in December 2016.
Now Techcrunch reports that Amazon has launched a WP plugin that can automatically convert any newly published or updated blog posts into audio files.
The Polly speech engine launched with 47 male and female voice and support for 24 languages. Since then, Amazon added support for Korean, another 5 languages, and made Polly available in all regions in the AWS partition.
The technology’s capabilities have also evolved, with added support for things like whispering, speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression. These sorts of voice technology advancements are also things that make Alexa sound more natural, too. Similar to Polly, Alexa learned how to whisper and change the pitch of her voice earlier this year.
Once set up, the plugin makes calls to Amazon Polly whenever a blog post is saved or updated.
I installed the plugin this afternoon, and I’ve been testing it. It hasn’t actually worked for me so far, and it’s not clear why. This is a 1.0 release, so it might just be buggy, but it might be that the plugin requires a paid Amazon Polly account (this point wasn’t clearly stated anywhere).
I would keep trying, but I’m having trouble even getting the Amazon Polly settings menu to respond promptly. I think I will wait until after the first update, and try again.
Amazon Polly is by no means the first automated TTS platform, or even the first to offer a WP plugin; I recall briefly testing one back in 2010. I stopped using that earlier platform because the voice quality was mechanical at best, but the tech has advanced considerably in the past seven years.
The Amazon Polly voices are based on the same tech used in Alexa, and as you know that sounds quite pleasant.
Doris February 9, 2018 um 1:58 pm
Interesting News, thanks
Not sure which blogs you mean: those on any wordpress or blogspot site? Or the once that are connected to your author page on Amazon? Or the paid blogs on Amazon that bloggers can set up to make a couple of bucks?
Thanks for more details
Nate Hoffelder February 9, 2018 um 2:46 pm
Maybe the phrase "a TTS Plugin for WordPress" in the title might be a clue, or the link to the WordPress.org repository, or the several references to WP (for WordPress)?
There are times where I might forget to provide enough detail, but this is not one of them.
Podcasts of Your Blog | ThemeScape Digital Design March 18, 2018 um 5:43 pm
[…] This is a pretty cool. Not only will it enhance your blog, but also make for increased accessibility for those with disabilities. Techcrunch has developed this Amazon TTS (Amazon Polly) into a WordPress plugin that will convert your new posts into any of 47 male or female voices supporting 24 languages. For more information, take a look at this article from The Digital Reader […]
Frank Parker March 19, 2018 um 8:50 am
I think this information at the end of the article you cited might be worth sharing (and may be the reason it’s not working for you)
"The Amazon Polly plugin is free, but using Polly is not.
Pricing is based on the number of characters in the speech requests. It’s also worth noting the AWS free tier allows up to 5 million characters per month at no charge for the first year after you begin to use Polly."
This seems to suggest that you would need a Polly account in order to use the plugin.
Nate Hoffelder March 19, 2018 um 9:00 am
That, and it turned out the early version of that plugin was buggy – I didn’t even get to the prompt to set up a Polly account because the plugin didn’t work.