Blizzard Challenge: Appeal for volunteer judges

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From Zhizheng Wu:

We are pleased to announce that the Blizzard Challenge 2019 listening test is now live. The paid listening tests have been running in the University of Edinburgh for two weeks and will finish by 19th July. We need your help as a listener, and to help us recruit more listeners.

Speech experts (you decide if you are one! Native speakers only please!)

Everyone else:

The test takes around 45 minutes. You can do it over several sessions,  if you prefer.

Please distribute the above URL as widely as possible, such as on your  institutional or national mailing lists, or to your students.

Update: Sorry about the lack of guidance on the fact that the synthesis is all in Chinese!  I'm traveling, with somewhat erratic internet, and took a few minutes off from packing to post the appeal without checking it out — apologies again.



  1. Laura Morland said,

    July 7, 2019 @ 10:28 pm

    Are all the samples for this study in a Chinese language? I went to the website and saw no references to expertise in languages other than English, and so I signed on as a listener.

    After evaluating two speech samples, however, I wonder if my opinions would be worth much, since I can only perceive to what degree they sound like a robot or not — I have no idea whether the emphasis or tones are correct.

  2. Michael Watts said,

    July 8, 2019 @ 2:40 am

    Based on the call for participation…

    Single task 2019-MH1: Mandarin Chinese Found Data – About 8 hours of speech data from an internet talk show by a well-known Chinese character will be released. All data are from a single speaker. The task is to build a voice from this data that is suitable for expressive TTS.

    …it'd be pretty surprising if the samples weren't in Chinese.

  3. Keith said,

    July 8, 2019 @ 3:37 am

    I came to the same conclusion… Not a very well written appeal for volunteers, not a very well made website, either.

    And who would have thought that a sinograph could talk?

  4. Julian said,

    July 8, 2019 @ 6:41 am

    With my editor's hat on, feedback for the promoter: If you want people to participate in something, you need to give then some idea what it's all about before you ask them to click through.
    In other words, your pitch has to *start* by completing this sentence in less than three lines: 'the blizzard challenge is …'
    I clicked through to the top link and I'm still none the wiser.

  5. John Swindle said,

    July 8, 2019 @ 10:33 pm

    I volunteered and found it tedious. Your experience may vary. The only fun part (and it really was kind of fun) was toward the end, when we got to listen to long, presumably synthesized, Mandarin utterances and type what we heard. I didn't do well.

    In their "speech experts" category (that wouldn't be me) they want only "Native speakers" but don't specify a language. The speech samples are in Mandarin. The instructions are in English. The optional demographic questionnaire for regular volunteers asks about native English speaker status.

  6. John Swindle said,

    July 9, 2019 @ 2:26 am

    They stress that they're not testing the participants, they're testing the speech synthesis, but it feels like a test of the participant's perseverance or conscientiousness. The transcription exercise that's included should allow them to exclude responses from participants who understand what's being said, if that's what they want to do.

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