Interesting Adjustment for Text-to-Speech Ability for Spanish App Translation

We recently completed the translation of an app that used the built-in text-to-speech function on the android application.

The interesting twist to this project is that it was targeted at Spanish speakers in the U.S. and Mexico. It was definitely not going to be sold in Spain. The challenge was that the text-to-speech engine was created for Spanish speakers in Spain. This caused an interesting pronunciation problem.

To reduce the strong Spanish for Spain accent we had to change all occurrences of “ci,” “ce,” “za,” “ze” and “zi.” The reason is that in Spain the soft c and z are pronounced more like the “th” sound in English. By replacing those c’s and z’s with an “s,” the pronunciation is closer to how those letters are pronounced in the other Spanish-speaking countries.

Thankfully, we could use different strings for the text-to-speech engine and the actual strings displayed on the screen. This allowed us to use proper spelling on-screen but then submit the modified spelling to try and nullify the pronunciation specific to Spain.

Great job by our project manager, Kimberly Miller, for finding this workaround!


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