Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hatsune Miku learns English, Engrish with new voicebank

Since her creation almost five years ago, Hatsune Miku has sung mostly in Japanese. Considering her birthplace (Japan) this isn't altogether too surprising. While she has snuck in a bit of English over the years thanks to enterprising composers, her voicebank is still rather ill-suited to English phonemes.

All this is changing thanks to an update to Miku's voice software. Crypton Media (her creators) are in the process of updating her relatively older voicebank and are equipping her with the ability to sing properly in English.

While Miku's new synthetic, anglo vocal chords are still in the beta phase, demo songs have been mixed and they sound promising...

... or at least, more promising than the earlier attempts to show off her new English voicebank.

I'm not sure if it's a product of the software itself (unlikely) or the familiarity of the composers with the nuances of English (more likely), but she still sounds quite Engrish-y. Further, the manifold distortion on Ripe Age - which is a catchy tune! - does little to hide the fact that she could never pass as a native speaker of English.

I'm sure that, in time, her English vocals will improve and be more natural sounding, but for the present they lag noticeably behind her 5-year-old English language cover of The Proclaimer's I'm gonna be (500 miles).

...which was built by transposing Japanese phonemes to fit a karaoke classic.

Da lat da (Da lat da), da lat da (Da lat da)
Da-da-da dun-diddle un-diddle un-diddle uh da-da!