Voice Banking and Message Banking
Voice banking and message banking allow individuals to preserve and retain his/her personal voice to be used with specialized technology when he/she loses the ability to speak. By recording your voice prior to losing the ability to speak, individuals will be able to access their voice to be used with an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device at a later date.
What is Voice Banking?
Voice Banking is a process in which a large inventory of a person's speech is recorded and then turned into an artificial version of the person's natural voice. While the task may be time consuming (between 4-8 hours), voice banking allows one to spell and create unique messages and then be able to speak them through special software. One of the most famous users of this method was Roger Ebert, famed film critic. A synthetic version of his voice was created by using his recorded voice from hours of old programs. Roger went on to use his "voice" after losing the ability to speak all together. The version of his voice in the video below was created in 2009.
What is Message Banking?
Message Banking is similar to voice banking, but the main difference is that the actual recording of the individual's voice is used. Words, phrases, sentences, personally meaningful sounds, and stories are digitally recorded and stored for later use with an AAC device. By using this method, an individual's natural voice, inflection and intonation are intact. This method will allow you to retrieve your previously recorded messages, but won't allow you to create novel messages. In other words, you are limited to what is recorded. This method is can be less tedious than voice banking.
Which Method is Best?
Both methods have their benefits. Voice banking allows novel messages to be created with your synthetic voice, however it might not sound exactly the same as your natural inflection and intonation. Message banking captures your voice exactly as it sounds at the moment of recording, but is limited only to what was recorded. It might be beneficial to do both if possible. If a person can complete the requirements for voice banking, then the voice can be used for unlimited purposes. At the same time, message banking would capture those special words and phrases that only you can say. RK Speech and Technology can help you figure out the best path to saving your voice.
How Can RK Speech and Technology help?
RK Speech and Technology can help you determine if you are a good candidate for voice banking by submitting a trial to Model Talker. Once your voice quality has been accepted, then RK Speech and Technology can walk you through the recording process. Voice banking with Model Talker requires you to record 1600 sentences in a quiet, controlled environment between 4-8 sessions. Message banking is completed through Tobii-Dynavox's website. The messages are created and stored for free to be used at a later date. RK Speech and Technology can assist with this process over a few sessions. For more information about voice and message banking, please contact RK Speech and Technology.
Message Banking, Voice Banking and Legacy Messages John M. Costello Boston Children’s Hospital 2001, 2016.