I’m new here, started my Japanese language journey several weeks ago, and trying to figure out the best TTS engine to voice WaniKani sample sentences, as I find those quite helpful to see Kanji in context.
Prior MacOS Ventura Apple’s own TTS was subpar: very flat in terms of pitch, sounded robotic and made lots of reading mistakes. In Ventura however, built in Japanese Siri voice improved significantly, it is now actually very “melodic” and human-like. Yet, it still makes same mistakes in readings!
Another alternative I found is Amazon Polly, which is a bit too technical to set up, but free to use till certain (quite generous) quota is reached. These days it sounds a bit worse than Siri, but it does not make any errors in readings. Polly’s pitch accent is a little bit more expressive than Siri’s one, but it’s no longer a deal breaker
Today I spent a couple hours and mashed up a simple Chrome extension, just to compare both engines, and at this point I wanted to clarify: are there any other solutions to this problem? I could not believe that by default sentences are not voiced in WaniKani, and there are very few discussions about TTS on this forum, maybe I am missing something?
Here’s an example of both engines: you can clearly hear Siri makes a mistake on the very first mora, and it happens quite often unfortunately – nearly in every batch of sentences she’ll find a way to screw up, which is extremely upsetting considering how much better it sounds than Polly… And it’s been like this for years, so I don’t expect Apple to address it any time soon.
If there’s any interest for such Polly extension for Chrome, I can make it user-friendly, publish and open-source it, so everyone can use it, but first I wanted to ask – what do you guys use to voice the sentences?