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VTML tags in Text to Speech !

VTML (VoiceText Markup Language) – This Powerful hidden gem in Text to Speech helps you control the generated speech by adding pause, changing the pitch, and other cool voice features.

This post on customizing text to speech Pronunciations received many comments requesting a way to control the generated speech with html like tags.

The interesting thing is that this feature is already there in Captivate! Even more interesting is the fact that it is so simple to use. All you need to do is insert the appropriate tags into the slide notes. You can type in (or copy paste) the tags just like you do any other text.

Just before making this post, I quickly tried few of them:
1. Hello I am here <vtml_pause time=”1000″/> for a break: Introduces a pause of 1 sec in between.
2. <vtml_speed value=”50″> This is my text </vtml_speed>: Helps you control the speed of the text

There are many more similar useful tags. The VTML tags are listed in Appendix C of the document here. It has examples as well on the usage.

40 Responses

  1. Grrrr – I spent ages looking for something like this a couple of months ago and didn;t find it.THANK YOU – now I can make TTS sound more natural in Captivate :-DSteve

  2. I think it is a shame that a company like Adobe selected a proprietary control method like vtml??? The industry already has a well established standard… SSML (speech synthesis markup language). Why tie customers to a proprietary non-standards based method? Who are the speech engines that support this besides your Korean partner? Will my high-quality Cepstral voices take advantage of this?Even more vexing…vtml is a copy of SSML. Brilliant – take an open standard and slightly change all the descriptors so they don’t work with other engines. How difficult would it have been to support the proper SSML method that ALL speech engines conform to? I’m going to take a second time-out now.

  3. Leive,I can understand your frustration, but the VTML standard was created by the company that created the particular voices/TS Engine used (their engineers were also involved in the SSML standard, go figure), and I’ve included a link to the US version of the VoiceText User’s Guide. also has a web-based service that DOES accept SSML at, but for SSML support you do have to pay – but they DO have a free account for folks that have limited TTS conversion needs.Unfortunately for us, there are not very many good quality TTS voices that are within the range of the average developers pocketbook. Neospeech voices were probably choosen for their willingness to sub-license their voices per application – that’s why it works within captivate only (or so I assume).Personally, Loquendo voices are by far the best I’ve heard, and they also have there own emotion mark-up langauge which makes their voices appear very natural – it’s almost spooky. But, their licensing is also very expensive, and unless you plan on creating a lot of e-learning it’s a bit pricey. They also sub-license their voices to individual applications, such as Character Builder (Flash-based character scripting/animation program)

  4. Is there a VTML command that creates emphasis on a word or phrase? I’m playing with pitch, volume and speed, and not really getting what I’m after.


  5. I am using just the trial version. I need to convice my boss to buy this for the company. However, if they hear the voice – – – it’s not good. It doesn’t have Paul. Can I install that in the trial version?

  6. I have attempted to use the tag in the slide notes prior to the text but the text to speech agent actually is saying the vtml tag. Am i applying this in the wrong place?

  7. I have Captivate 5 as a standalone program (not Adobe Elearning Suite). I have the voices installed and didn’t have any problems changing the text to speech to the Kate voice. But it still sounds all wrong…I have no idea how to change the pitch and emphasis on words. The files that might be for that don’t open. ????

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