Want your loved ones to talk to you from beyond the grave? Technology's not quite there yet, says AT&T, but the best thing to do is record as much as you can of their voice, in as good a setting and as high res as plausible....
- Can I use my own voice?
- Not in AT&T Natural Voices™.
The reasons for wanting customized voices are varied. Some people just think it would be cool. Some are losing their voices due to a medical condition or upcoming surgery and would like to have their own synthetic voice rather than a generic one. Some people have audio tapes of a late loved one. (See the reference to ModelTalker in the section on Assistive Technologies below that may be useful for people soon to lose their voices.)
Creating high-quality voices requires a good voice talent, a sound-proof room, professional audio equipment, hours of written material with thorough coverage of phoneme combinations in the language, and the time and expertise to turn those recordings into a decent synthetic voice. Because of the expense involved, custom voice builds are usually done for corporations that want to computerize an existing actor's voice, for example to continue a brand image.
Since even professional actors reading well-chosen material don't always synthesize well, another possibility is to get the highest quality recordings possible, and as much of it as possible. Keep the recordings in a safe place until the technology improves for transforming one voice to sound like another. It may take far less material to build a tranformation model than it does to build a TTS voice from scratch. Eventually it may be possible to take a good TTS voice that is roughly similar (e.g. mid-pitch-range male, same accent) and morph it to sound like the desired person.