Amazon Polly WordPress Plugin Makes Blogs into Podcasts

Amazon Polly for WordPress is a service that turns text into lifelike speech. It can create audio versions of your blog posts. That audio can be played from within the blog post itself, or it can be accessed in podcast form using a feature called Amazon Pollycast.

With dozens of voices across a variety of languages, you can select the ideal voice and build engaging speech-enabled applications that work in many different countries. The Amazon plugin for WordPress is a sample application that shows how WordPress creators can easily add Text-to-Speech capabilities to written content with Amazon Polly.

The Amazon Polly speech engine launched with 47 male and female voice and support for 24 languages. Since launch, Amazon added support for Korean, another 5 languages, and made Amazon Polly available in all regions in the AWS partition.

Amazon Polly allows you to generate an audio feed for text-based content and insert it into an embedded player. Doing so can increase the accessibility of your WordPress site. People who are blind, or visually impaired, and who cannot read your blog post can listen to it instead. It also allows speech-enabled products to read your blog post to someone.

The sample code also enables you to publish podcasts directly from your site and make them available for listeners in the form of podcasts. To do this, you send the text you want converted into speech to the Amazon Polly API. Amazon Polly immediately returns the audio stream to your application so you can play it directly or store it in a standard audio file format, such as MP3. It is possible to publish your Amazon PollyCast to the iTunes iConnect directory.

You can cache and replay Amazon Polly’s generated speech at no additional cost. Amazon Polly lets you convert 5M characters per month for free during the first year, upon sign-up.

Amazon Polly also has a Pay-As-You-Go model. You are billed monthly for the number of characters of text that you processed. Amazon Polly is priced at $4.00 per 1 million characters for speech or Speech Marks requests (when outside the free tier).

Amazon Polly for WordPress is open source software. The following people have contributed to the plugin: awslabs, WP Engine, tstachlewski and Steven Word.

According to TechCrunch, Amazon Polly is only available for those who are running their own installation of WordPress on their own infrastructure (hosted or managed) or on AWS. It required a bit of configuration. Once you set it up, the plugin makes calls to Amazon Polly whenever a blog post is saved or updated. For podcasters, the plugin includes a feature called Pollycast.