CFP: Workshop on Spoken Language Generation and Multimodal Information

Dr. John Bateman (
Thu, 10 Aug 1995 11:30:58 +0200

CFP: (please post)


2nd-3rd November 1995

GMD/IPSI, Darmstadt, Germany

******************* CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS *******************

This workshop aims to bring together researchers, developers, and
potential producers and marketers of multimodal information systems in
order to consider the role of *spoken language synthesis* in such
systems. Not only do we need to be able to produce spoken language
appropriately---including effective control of intonation---but also
we need to know in which practical contexts spoken language is most
beneficial. This requires a dialogue between those providing spoken
natural language technology and those considering the practical use of
multimodal information systems.

The workshop will consist of paper presentations and practical
demonstrations, as well as a roundtable discussion on the best
strategies for pursuing the practical application of spoken language
synthesis technology in information systems.

Suggested Topic Areas/Themes include, but are not limited to:

* functional control of intonation in synthesized speech

* use of speech in intelligent interfaces for information systems

* integration of speech into automatic query systems

* cooperative integration of speech with text generation for
information systems

* evaluation strategies for information systems involving speech

* applications for information systems with spoken language output

* practical requirements for information systems with spoken language

Potential participants are invited to submit short statements of
interest indicating whether they would be interested in presenting a
paper, offering a system demonstration, participating in the round
table discussion, or simply attending. Statements of interest and
extended abstracts (max. 7 pages) should be sent by 1st. October by
e-mail to: `' or by post to: John A. Bateman, GMD/IPSI,
Dolivostr. 15, D-64293 Darmstadt, Germany. Extended abstracts will
be made available at the workshop.

During the workshop current results and demonstrations of the EU
Copernicus Program Project `Speak!' will also be given (see


Project Information:

The SPEAK! Project:
Speech Generation in Multimodal Information Systems

"SPEAK!" is a European Union funded project (COPERNICUS '93 Project
No. 10393) whose aim is to embed spoken natural language synthesis
technology with sophisticated user interfaces in order to improve
access to information systems.

Multimedia technology and knowledge-based text processing enhance the
development of new types of information systems which not only offer
references or full-text documents to the user but also provide access
to images, graphics, audio and video documents. This diversification
of the in formation offered has to be supported by easy-to-use
multimodal user interfaces, which are capable of presenting each type
of information item in a way that it can be perceived and processed
effectively by the user.

Users can easily process simultaneously the graphical medium of
information presentation and the linguistic medium. The separation of
mode is also quite appropriate for the different functionalities of
the main graphical interaction and the supportive meta-dialogue
carried out linguistically. We believe, therefore, that a substantial
improvement in both functionality and user acceptance is to be
achieved by the integration of spoken languages capabilities.

However, text-to-speech devices commercially available today produce
speech that sounds unnatural and that is hard to listen to. High
quality synthesized speech that sounds acceptable to humans demands
appropriate intonation patterns. The effective control of intonation
requires synthesizing from meanings, rather than word sequences, and
requires understanding of the functions of intonation. In the domain
of sophisticated human-machine interfaces, we can make use of the
increasing tendency to design such interfaces as independent agents
that themselves engage in an interactive dialogue (both graphical and
linguistic) with their users. Such agents need to maintain models of
their discourses, their users, and their communicative goals.

The SPEAK! project, which was launched recently as a cooperation
between the Speech Research Technology Laboratory of the TECHNICAL
cooperation with GMD-IPSI), aims at developing such an interface for a
multimedia retrieval system. At IPSI, the departments KOMET (natural
language generation) and MIND (information retrieval dialogues)
contribute to this project.

The project is to construct a proof-of-concept prototype of a
multimodal information system combining graphical and spoken language
output in a variety of languages. The work involves four supporting
goals: first, to advance the state of the art in the domains of speech
synthesis, spoken text generation, and graphical interface design;
second, to provide enabling technology for higher functionality
information systems that are more appropriate for general public use;
third, to significantly improve the public and industrial acceptance
of speech synthesis in general and the Hungarian text-to-speech
technology elaborated within the project in particular; and, fourth,
to act as a focusing point for speech work in Hungary.

Contact points:
GMD/IPSI, Darmstadt: John Bateman
fax: +49/6151-869-818
tel: +49/6151-869-826
TU-Budapest: G'eza N'emeth
fax: +36/1-463-3107
tel: +36/1-463 2401