Internationalizing W3C's Speech Synthesis Markup Language

Workshop II

30-31 May 2006

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) in Heraklion, Crete,
site of the W3C Office in Greece

Greek version of the Workshop web page is also available.


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 a standard way to control aspects of speech such as pronunciation, volume, pitch, rate, etc. 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 note describing 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. Now, in order to make SSML more useful in current and emerging markets, the Voice Browser Working Group is considering more enhancements for handling non-English languages. The first W3C Workshop on Internationalizing W3C's Speech Synthesis Markup Language was held in Beijing in November, 2005. As the result of the Workshop, various requirements on SSML extension for Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Polish speech synthesis were identified and prioritized. The Working Group is now organizing a second workshop in Greece, in order to solicit additional suggestions to increase the use of SSML for other non-English languages. The group is especially interested in suggestions on how to improve the rendering of multiple, non-English languages including (but not limited to) Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Hindi, and Bengali.

Workshop Goals

Identify and prioritize extensions and additions to SSML that will improve the use of SSML for rendering non-English languages.


The workshop will produce a document identifying and prioritizing extensions and additions to SSML that will improve the use of SSML 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 open to all non-English 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 appendixes. Allowed formats are (valid) HTML/XHTML, PDF, or plain text. Papers in any other formats (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 14 April 2006.

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 may 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 Chairs

Dr. James A. Larson (Co-chair of the W3C Voice Browser Working Group) Intel, jim@larson-tech.com
Kazuyuki Ashimura, (W3C Contact for the Voice Browser Working Group) W3C, ashimura@w3.org

Program Committee

At this time, the program committee is still being assembled. The list so far:


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 W3C Office in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Local arrangements by Anna Doxastaki, <adoxast@ics.forth.gr>. Information about hotels will be distributed with acceptance letters.


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

Important Dates

Date Event
April 14 Deadline for position papers. Submit position papers to team-ssmlws-submit@w3.org.
April 28 Acceptance notification and registration instructions sent. Program and accepted position papers posted on the workshop website.
May 2 Deadline for registration.
May 30 Workshop Begins (8:30 AM)
May 31 Workshop Ends (6:00 PM)
June 7 Conference minutes and conference deliverables posted on the workshop website.

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

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