W3C Interaction

W3C Workshop on Internationalizing the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML)


The call for position papers is now closed.

The Workshop Agenda including the links to the accepted papers, presentation slides and minutes is available. The Participants List is also provided.

Call for Participation

2-3 November 2005

IBM China Research Laboratory - Beijing, China


The W3C Voice Browser Working Group seeks to develop standards to enable access to the Web using spoken interaction. The Speech Synthesis Markup Language Specification Version 1.0 (SSML) is designed to provide a rich, XML-based markup language for assisting the generation of synthetic speech in Web and other applications. The essential role of the markup language is to provide authors of synthesizable content with a standard way to control aspects of speech such as pronunciation, volume, pitch, or rate across different synthesis-capable platforms. SSML is widely used to specify the rendering of text as human-like speech using speech synthesis technology. Recently, the W3C Voice Browser Working Group published a technical report called SSML 1.0 say-as attribute values, which clarifies the use of the <say-as> element for interpreting text that should be rendered as speech that can not easily be inferred by the speech synthesis engine.

To make SSML more useful in current and emerging markets, the Voice Browser Working Group is considering enhancements for non-English languages. The goal of this workshop is to solicit use cases and requirements to help the Working Group design internationalization extensions to SSML. In particular we are interested in suggestions to make SSML improve the rendering non-English languages. For instance, SSML lacks features to support tonal languages like Chinese or other South-East Asian languages. Similarly, better control of word segmentation would allow SSML to support languages whose synthetic pronunciation requires different rules from English.

Workshop Goals

The main objective of this workshop is to identify and prioritize extensions and additions to SSML that will improve the use of SSML for rendering non-English languages.


The main outcome of workshop will be the publication of a document identifying and prioritizing extensions and additions to SSML to improve its use for rendering non-English languages. The W3C Voice Browser Working Group will use this document as a guideline for future enhancements to SSML.

Scope of the Workshop

The scope of this workshop is restricted in order to make the best use of participants' time. In general, discussion at the workshop and in the position papers should stay focused on the workshop goal: identify and prioritize extensions and additions to SSML that will improve the use of SSML for rendering non-English languages

The scope of the workshop is not limited to Asian languages. Suggestions for enhancements to SSML for the support of any non-English language are welcome, especially if they are relevant for multiple languages.

Expected Audience

We expect several communities to contribute to the workshop:

Requirements for Participation

Position papers are required to participate in this workshop. Each organization or individual wishing to participate must submit a position paper by the date shown below. Participation is pending acceptance of the position paper by the program committee.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following:

Position Papers

Position papers will be the basis for the discussion at the workshop. Papers should explain the participant's interest in the workshop, explain their position and include concrete examples of their suggestions. Position papers should be written in English. Examples may be illustrated with non-English languages with an English explanation.

All papers should be 1 to 5 pages, although they may link to longer versions or appendices. Allowed formats are valid HTML or XHTML, PDF, or plain text. Papers in any other format (including invalid HTML/XHTML) will be returned with a request for correct formatting.

Papers must be submitted by email to team-ssmlws-submit@w3.org before 23 September 2005.

Accepted position papers will be published on the public Web page of the workshop. Submitting a position paper comprises a default recognition of these terms for publication.

The Program Committee will ask the authors of particularly salient position papers to explicitly present their position at the workshop to foster discussion. Presenters will be asked to make the slides of the presentation available on the workshop home page in HTML, PDF, or plain text

See the schedule below for submission and registration deadlines.

Workshop Organization

Workshop Chair

Dr. James A. Larson, Intel, co-chair of the W3C Voice Browser Working Group <jim@larson-tech.com>
Kazuyuki Ashimura, W3C, Team contact for the Voice Browser Working Group <ashimura@w3.org>

Program Committee


To ensure maximum interaction among participants, the number of participants will be limited. To ensure maximum diversity, the number of participants per organization will be limited in the event the overall participation limit is reached.

W3C membership is not required to participate in this workshop.

Workshop sessions and documents will be in English.


The workshop program will run from 8:30 am to 6 pm on both days.


The workshop will be held at the IBM China Research Lab in Beijing, People's Republic of China. Details will be included with acceptance notification. Local Contact: Zhi Wei (Jerry) Shuang, shuangzw@cn.ibm.com


Information on registration will be send with the notification of acceptance.

Important Dates

Date Event
September 23 Deadline for position papers. Submit position papers to team-ssmlws-submit@w3.org
October 7 Acceptance notification and registration instructions sent. Program and accepted position papers posted on the workshop web site.
October 21 Deadline for registration.
November 2 Workshop begins (8:30 AM)
November 3 Workshop ends (6:00 PM)
November 10 Conference minutes and conference deliverables posted on the workshop web site.

Jim Larson and Kazauyuki Ashimura, Workshop Co-chairs
Max Froumentin, Voice Activity Lead

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