The new Finland Swedish voice Samuel enriches the Acapela language portfolio and widens its linguistic coverage in the Nordic region. Spoken by approximately 300 000 persons (around 5% of the Finn population), Finland Swedish is one of the two national languages of Finland, the other being Finnish.
NÖSS (Norra Österbottens Svenska Synskadade), the regional association for Swedish-speaking visually-impaired people in Finland, took the initiative to develop a synthetic voice of the Finland Swedish language and selected Acapela (acapela-group.com) to do the job. The result is Samuel who is officially launched on September 24th.
Nöss states that: 'Everyone is entitled to equality in our society. This also includes access to information. Without sufficient aids the visually impaired and people with reading disablements are facing great difficulties in getting access to information in for instance newspapers, books and on the Internet'.
The Samuel voice will daily help around 6 000 visually impaired Finns who speak Swedish as their mother tongue. Finland Swedish is very close to the Swedish spoken in Sweden but has its own properties like differences in intonation, vocabulary, etc. Acapela’s expertise came in to create a full Finland Swedish voice taking into account all specificities of the language.
'The development of Samuel once again demonstrates Acapela's expertise and capability to answer any tailored request, either for a new language or for a specific exclusive voice, to faithfully reproduce written words into relevant and pleasant speech' says Lars-Erik Larsson, CEO of Acapela Group.
The Finland Swedish voice will be integrated in the Acapela wide range of vocal solutions – both offline and online – to vocalize projects of all sizes, in all fields. Samuel can be used to create vocal newspapers, books and magazines, but also in solutions that would read out loud for instance notes, documents, emails and web pages. This will ease access to written content for people living with sight impairments but also provide reading capability to other people who prefer listening to reading, for example when driving, walking or multi-tasking.
The Samuel voice was developed thanks to subsidies/donations from the following associations: Penningautomatföreningen RAY, Stiftelsen Leo, Mary och Mary-Ann Hackman, Stiftelsen Svenska Blindgården, Helsingforsregionens Taltidningsförening r.f., Helen och Walter Grönqvists stiftelse and Otto A. Malms donationsfond.
About Norra Österbottens Svenska Synskadade r.f. (NÖSS)
NÖSS is a regional association aiming to improve the quality of life of Swedish speaking visually handicapped in Finland and secure an equal status with other inhabitants of the country, both on a social, cultural and economical level. The association has around 160 visually impaired members. During the last eight years, NÖSS has initiated and been in charge of several technical development projects in order to enhance information accessibility for visually impaired users.