Should I use Text to Speech Software for my Voice Over Projects?

Should I use Text to Speech Software for my Voice Over Projects?

Should I use Text to Speech Software for my Voice Over Projects?

Text to speech is a popular technology that can convert text into audio. Many people use it to process and understand content better and, in some cases, to practice new languages. Lately, however, we have seen the rise of text to speech as a replacement for natural-sounding speech in video production. In this article, we look into speech tools and technology and explore whether voice generators are a feasible option for narrating your videos.

What is Text to Speech?

Text to speech, also known as TTS or "read aloud," is a technology that reads digital text aloud, usually with the touch of a finger. The way speech programs work is as follows: The TTS software converts the words on a computer, smartphone, or tablet (for example, from a Microsoft word document) and turns them into an audio file, usually using natural-sounding voices. Many software applications include text-to-speech functions; for example, Windows has a free version TTS engine with powerful capabilities. Amazon has also developed a TTS service called Polly that uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesise human speech.

The voice in text-to-speech programs is computer-generated. The quality varies greatly, but most synthetic ones still try to sound like human voices. Many TTS generators can produce very natural-sounding speech with good pitch, pronunciation, and inflexion, reason why some companies use a speech platform for their voiceovers - for example in explainer videos or for commercial purposes.

Advantages of Using Text to Speech

TTS technology, text to speech software and voice cloning have evolved significantly over the last years, particularly after the inclusion of deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. In general, text-to-speech recordings and AI voices are easy to follow and can ease understanding. One advantage of these programs is that you can speed the reading up or down and change the AI voice types, making them a good tool for e-learning.

Several companies use TTS technology for public announcement systems and telephony. Text-to-speech is also invaluable for people who struggle with reading or have trouble focusing on written words. When combined with OCR, TTS can also read text aloud from images in natural sounding voices.

There are several other advantages of using text to speech over written words, too. For example:

  • Mobility: You can turn any digital content into more of a multimedia experience that people can listen to while multitasking or on the go.
  • Accessibility: You can extend the reach of your content (for example, videos made with an online video maker, educational or training materials, etc) to people with literacy difficulties or impairments.
  • Enhanced Learning: TTS can help improve comprehension and vocabulary skills and generally facilitate e-learning.
  • Affordability: The technology is inexpensive compared to other means of creating voiceovers with human voices.


Disadvantages of Using Text to Speech

There are also some disadvantages of using text-to-speech technology, especially for voiceovers and particularly when the programs are available through a free version only. The main one is that the voices sound generally emotionless and less natural than a real person’s voice when using a speech tool. The reason is that it's impossible to create a speech synthesis database for text to speech that contains all possible (and many very specific) words spoken in all combinations of stress, emotions, prosody, etc.

These days, text-to-speech systems are quite advanced and can convert text with a reasonable degree of accuracy, so many people use narration, YouTube videos, etc. However, one thing this software cannot do, is to convey emotion effectively. The vocabulary of these apps is also often limited, so you might have trouble producing professional-sounding voiceovers with them. Lastly, some people just don't enjoy listening to synthetic voices (AI voices) created by speech tools and will quickly switch off from them - no matter if you're using a free text to speech program, a paid subscription, or paid versions of a speech tool.

Text-to-speech is an excellent solution for specific projects and needs. The financial services industry, for example, has benefitted from automatic voice commands and AI voices that use machine learning to get increasingly better. Hospitality also successfully harnesses TTS to convert text and communicate more easily with international customers (PA systems, transportation hubs, and self-ticketing machines, are all great examples of how you can convert text to speech voices). Still, TTS is not a perfect replacement for using a voice over artist to create your audio content, especially if you want the speech to adequately represent your brand.


Why you Should Consider Hiring a Voice Over Artist Instead of Using TTS Technology

A voice over artist can make your text file more lively and narrate your story more engagingly. Voice actors are performers; they can adapt their speech and help bring versatility and life to a script using a unique and custom voice. Their speech also carries authority and confidence, something you would not get from text-to-speech software. They will know when to add pauses, use emphasis, and make your voiceovers truly come to life.

A large part of your business success is building trust with your customers (about 82% of consumers continue to buy from a brand they trust). A voiceover narration's quality and authority can influence your audience and help you sell your products and services more effectively than AI voices. Besides their professionalism, voice over artists also have the correct equipment and technology to capture higher-quality audio. And you can provide them with feedback and direction, something you cannot do if you're using text-to-speech software.

Speech is a central element for commercials, business presentations, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks. In these types of projects the message is crucial, but its delivery is equally important. The human voice is the best way to convey the tone of your brand, and you should make sure you always tailor it to your specific target audience.

Final Thoughts

Text-to-speech technology and AI voices are a good fit for particular business needs, but it cannot convey emotion as well as a voice over artist can. If you are looking to create an emotional connection with your audience, you should look into hiring a voice over talent who has experience in the type of content you produce and can give you an audio file that will truly serve its purpose. Here at OutSpoken we connect professional voice artists with creatives in the film and audio production industry. Whatever your project requires, we can help you find the perfect voice.



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