97 year old Bob Sheppard has been the Yankee Stadium public address announcer since 1951, and while he’s been in poor health of late, CNN’s Darren Rovell promises, “due to the state of text-to-speech technology, Sheppard™s voice could be the voice of the starting lineups for the next 50 years, if the Yankees choose to go that route.”
Patrick Dexter, director of business development for Cepstral a leader in text-to-speech technology, told CNBC that it would be possible for the company to create a program that would enable the Yankees to have every player “ the Yankees and their opponents “ be announced by Sheppard™s voice forever.
œDoing names and numbers is easier than creating what they call a full domain voice, which is voicing full sentences, Dexter said. œBut if we had some time and money “ and the Yankees certainly might have that bankroll — we could do this.
It would likely cost the Yankees in the six figures, Dexter said, and the company would need at least 10 hours of Sheppard™s time in order to recognize all his speech patterns.
If there™s a rookie who comes up for the Yankees in 2017 and the Sheppard program doesn™t immediately pronounce it right, Dexter said a technician could do a couple things to make sure the Sheppard voice program recognizes it correctly. One solution is to write everything phonetically. So if Jorge comes out George, it could be typed in as Horhay.
Dexter says that the text-to-speech technology is getting better because the company is getting more and more requests from ordinary people who want to preserve the voice of someone who is dying or who is losing their voice to cancer or some other disease.
Indeed, I have it on good authority Victory Records has already made similar provisions with the surviving members of Hawthorne Heights.