Amazon will be launching a new Amazon Polly WordPress plugin that gives a blogger a voice by creating audio versions of their posts. The resultant audio can be played from within the blog post itself, or accessed in podcast form utilisng a feature known as Amazon Pollycast, the company says.
The Amazon Pollycast was mutually designed by Amazon’s AWS team & managed WordPress platform provider WP Engine, & takes advantage of Amazon’s text-to-speech service, Polly.
The Polly WordPress Plugin was first introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer event back in November 2016. Polly uses machine learning techs under the hood to deliver more life-like speech which makes the voices sound more natural than some other, more basic voice-to-text engines.
The Polly speech engine launched with 47 men and female voice & support for 24 languages. Since then, Amazon added support for Korean, another five languages, & made Polly available in all regions in the AWS partition.
The unveiling of the WordPress plugin is not the first time Polly has been used to turn digital text to speech, of course. The service has always been able to turn any text – news articles, blog posts, RSS feeds, PDFs, & more – into audio. Though, making this functionality available as a WordPress plugin makes Polly more accessible to a lot more audience.
But, the plugin is only available to anybody running their own installation of WordPress on their own infrastructure or on AWS, & does need a bit of configuration. That can make it a bit more challenging for less technical people to use.
The moment it is set up, the plugin makes calls to Amazon Polly whenever a blog post is saved or updated.
In addition to just reading posts aloud, Polly’s flexibility means you can configure different voices for different bylines, or use different voices for quoted text. The plugin can also offer translation capabilities so a blog can be read by those who speak other languages.
For podcasters, the Polly WordPress Plugin has a feature known as Pollycast that aalow control of the iTunes parameters that are in the generated RSS feed, like the iTunes category, image, contact email, & explicit content flag.
The Amazon Polly plugin is free, but using Polly isn’t.
Price is based on the number of characters in the speech requests. Note that the AWS free tier allows up to 5 million characters a month at no charge for the first year after you start using Polly.