SSML Speechcons in Alexa Skills Now Available in the UK and Germany

Dean Bryen Apr 27, 2017

Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) is a standardized markup language that provides a way to mark up text for changing how speech is synthesized. SSML support on Alexa allows you to control how Alexa generates speech from your skill’s text responses. You can add pauses, change pronunciation, spell out a word, and add short audio snippets to name just a few examples. In February, we announced SSML support for speechcons in the US. Speechcons are special words and phrases that Alexa expresses in a more characterful way, making the user experience even more engaging and personal.

Today, we are excited to announce that developers in the UK and Germany can now use speechcons to build more creative voice experiences with UK English and German words and phrases. This means you can now build UK English and German Alexa skills that pronounce common words in a more natural manner. You can use regionally specific terms such as “Blimey” and “Bob’s your uncle,” in the UK and “Da lachen ja die Hühner” and “Donnerwetter” in Germany.

Check out our full list of speechcons for UK EnglishGerman, and US English.

We are also excited to share five other new SSML features today in the US, UK, and Germany including whispering, expletive beeps, and more.

Speak code 1

Use punctuation marks such as commas, periods, or the <break> SSML tag to ensure speechcons work as expected. To add a one-second break on either side of our speechcon, our SSML response would look something like this:

Speak code 2

Try Other New SSML Features

Now you can even implement whispering tags to help Alexa render a wider range of natural expression. Check out these new SSML tags and play with pronunciation, intonation, and timing of your voice experiences. And join us for a live webinar on SSML on May 31. We'll walk through all of the supported tags and show you how to level up your Alexa responses with SSML.

Build a Skill, Get a Shirt

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) enables developers to build capabilities, called skills, for Alexa. ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, documentation, tools, and code samples that make it fast and easy for anyone to add skills to Alexa. 

Developers have built more than 10,000 skills with ASK. Explore the stories behind some of these innovations, then start building your own skill. Once you publish your skill, mark the occasion with a free, limited-edition Alexa dev shirt. Our shirts feature a new design every month. Check out this month’s offer for the UK and Germany.