Setting up Text To Speech Application using Amazon Polly

Long back we used AWS to set up a PHP and MYSQL application. This weekend will work with Amazon Polly to deploy our own TTS application.

Amazon Polly is a Text-to-Speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice.

This article is heavily based on the guide on AWS. Our application architecture looks as below:

Let us start building the application where we will set up a few lambda functions, SNS, and S3 bucket to finally result in RESTful APIs that can convert text to speech for us.

Create a DynamoDB Table

Create a DynamoDBtable to store text and corresponding audio files.

Create an S3 Bucket

Create an S3bucket that will hold all the audio files for you. Go through the Create bucketwizard to complete the process.

Create a SNS Topic

The work of converting a text file to an audio output would be done by 2 Lambda functions. Let’s create a new SNS topic from the SNS console.

Create a New Role

Create a new Rolein the IAM Console.

After choosing the service that will use this role, go ahead and give this Rolea name and click on Create Role.

After the Roleis created, click on Add inline policyunder the Permissionstab.

Copy paste the following policy, which provides Lambda with access to the services included in the architecture diagram

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [

After adding the JSON, review the policy and name it.

Creating a New Post Lambda Function

Copy paste the following code for it:

import boto3
import os
import uuid

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    recordId = str(uuid.uuid4())
    voice = event["voice"]
    text = event["text"]

print('Generating new DynamoDB record, with ID: ' + recordId)
    print('Input Text: ' + text)
    print('Selected voice: ' + voice)
    #Creating new record in DynamoDB table
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb')
    table = dynamodb.Table(os.environ['DB_TABLE_NAME'])
            'id' : recordId,
            'text' : text,
            'voice' : voice,
            'status' : 'PROCESSING'
    #Sending notification about new post to SNS
    client = boto3.client('sns')
        TopicArn = os.environ['SNS_TOPIC'],
        Message = recordId
    return recordId

Use the following environment variables for the DynamoDB table and the SNS topic.

  • SNS_TOPIC — the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the SNS topic we created
  • DB_TABLE_NAME — the name of the DynamoDB table (in our case, it’s posts)

Assign the IAM role that we created for the Lambda functions.

Add a New Test in the wizard to test if the function is working.

{   "voice": "Joanna",   "text": "This is working!" }

Now you test your function by clicking on Test.

Create a Convert to Audio Lambda function

Again use the same wizard to create a new Lambda function, PostReader_ConvertToAudio.

Configure an SNS trigger so that this function is executed whenever a new post comes in.

Copy-paste the following code to this lambda function editor. Take care of your indentations, its python. :D

import boto3
import os
from contextlib import closing
from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr

def lambda_handler(event, context):

postId = event["Records"][0]["Sns"]["Message"]
    print "Text to Speech function. Post ID in DynamoDB: " + postId
    #Retrieving information about the post from DynamoDB table
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb')
    table = dynamodb.Table(os.environ['DB_TABLE_NAME'])
    postItem = table.query(

text = postItem["Items"][0]["text"]
    voice = postItem["Items"][0]["voice"] 
    rest = text
    #Because single invocation of the polly synthesize_speech api can 
    # transform text with about 1,500 characters, we are dividing the 
    # post into blocks of approximately 1,000 characters.
    textBlocks = []
    while (len(rest) > 1100):
        begin = 0
        end = rest.find(".", 1000)

if (end == -1):
            end = rest.find(" ", 1000)
        textBlock = rest[begin:end]
        rest = rest[end:]

#For each block, invoke Polly API, which will transform text into audio
    polly = boto3.client('polly')
    for textBlock in textBlocks: 
        response = polly.synthesize_speech(
            Text = textBlock,
            VoiceId = voice
        #Save the audio stream returned by Amazon Polly on Lambda's temp 
        # directory. If there are multiple text blocks, the audio stream
        # will be combined into a single file.
        if "AudioStream" in response:
            with closing(response["AudioStream"]) as stream:
                output = os.path.join("/tmp/", postId)
                with open(output, "a") as file:

s3 = boto3.client('s3')
    s3.upload_file('/tmp/' + postId, 
      postId + ".mp3")
      Key= postId + ".mp3")

location = s3.get_bucket_location(Bucket=os.environ['BUCKET_NAME'])
    region = location['LocationConstraint']
    if region is None:
        url_begining = ""
        url_begining = "https://s3-" + str(region) + "" \
    url = url_begining \
            + str(os.environ['BUCKET_NAME']) \
            + "/" \
            + str(postId) \
            + ".mp3"

#Updating the item in DynamoDB
    response = table.update_item(
            "SET #statusAtt = :statusValue, #urlAtt = :urlValue",                   
            {':statusValue': 'UPDATED', ':urlValue': url},
          {'#statusAtt': 'status', '#urlAtt': 'url'},

Use the following environment variables and values:

  • DB_TABLE_NAME — The name of the DynamoDB table (in our case, it’s posts )
  • BUCKET_NAME — The name of the S3 bucket that we created to store MP3 files

Update the execution time settings for this lambda function.

Go ahead and retest the PostReader_NewPost function. It will add an entry to your database table and a mp3 file to the S3 bucket.

Create a Lambda function to get Audio

Now, we just need to create another lambda function, PostReader_GetPost that retrieves information from the database.

import boto3
import os
from boto3.dynamodb.conditions import Key, Attr

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    postId = event["postId"]
    dynamodb = boto3.resource('dynamodb')
    table = dynamodb.Table(os.environ['DB_TABLE_NAME'])
    if postId=="*":
        items = table.scan()
        items = table.query(
    return items["Items"]

This function needs just one environment variable ie. DB_TABLE_NAME.

To test function add a New Testas below:

{   "postId": "*" }

Exposing the Lambda function as an API

Next, we need to expose our application logic as a RESTful web service. Choose to Create APIoption in the API Gatewayconsole to get started.

After the API is created, choose Create Methodfrom the menu.

The POST method invokes the PostReader_NewPost Lambda function. For the GET method, our API invokes the PostReader_GetPost Lambda function.

Next, enable CORS to enable calling these methods from a different domain.

Now, modify the GET method to add a postId query param to it.

The lambda function expects a JSON input so we need to add a mapping in the Integration Requestsection.

Similarly, you can configure your POST method to accept a JSON input. Go to the Modelssection and create a new model.

  "$schema" : "",
  "title" : "AloudStory",
  "type" : "object",
  "properties" : {
    "voice" : { "type" : "string" },
    "text" : { "type" : "string" }

Deploying the API

Now that you have configured the methods, go ahead and deploy it.

Choose a deployment stage

That’s it your APIs are up and running. The AWS console will show you the invocation URL for it.

Written on March 17, 2018 by Vivek Maskara.

Originally published on Medium

Vivek Maskara
Vivek Maskara
GRA at The Luminosity Lab, ASU | Ex Senior Software Engineer, Zeta | Volunteer, Wikimedia Foundation

Seeking Summer 2021 internships. Check out my Resume.