There are many benefits to text-to-speech, from time-savings, workflow efficiencies, and budget optimizations. But none of it matters unless the text-to-speech sounds realistic. In this article, we address why realistic, human-sounding text-to-speech is essential and how to find the most realistic text-to-speech engine for your content.
What is text-to-speech?
Text-to-speech converts written copy, or scripts, into spoken words. Companies, course creators, authors, and entertainers all use text-to-speech for learning and development content, training videos, audiobooks, marketing, and other productions.
Why does realistic text-to-speech matter?
Up until this point in history, most voiceovers or narrations were recorded by humans. Thus, there was never any issue or debate about the voices sounding realistic. They were human, so they were about as human-sounding as one could get.
However, as new technologies like realistic ai voice over emerged, many companies began favoring this AI-predictive technology over human voiceovers. With text-to-speech, companies didn’t have to slow down their production process by auditioning voice actors, booking recording studios, or scheduling retakes. They didn’t have to burden internal employees with recording scripts in addition to their regular work duties. And they didn’t have to foot the bill for costly microphones, headphones, technology, post-production or retakes. Text-to-speech was a win-win.
Not all text-to-speech platforms are equal and not all sound realistic. This might seem like a small concession, but the truth is, without realistic text-to-speech, your productions suffer immensely. At best, your listeners disengage, and at worst, they might not retain anything you said to them. They might even walk away with a more negative perception of your brand. Realistic text-to-speech helps keep attention, breathes life into stories, strengthens retention, and helps creators deliver better content.
How to find a realistic text-to-speech engine for your business
So, how do you find a realistic ai voice over for your business? It comes down to a few key factors.
One of the things that makes robotic voices sound so unnatural to the human ear is that we naturally talk with variations. People change how they say certain words, their pace, and their inflections. We subconsciously pick up on these variations, so if they are missing, we notice. You want to ensure that the text-to-speech engine you choose also mimics these fluctuations.
At WellSaid Labs, for example, our AI voice over models train with human voices, so they sound more like humans than robots. In fact, in results verified by a third-party firm, people couldn’t tell the difference between WellSaid Labs Voice Avatars and actual humans.
Another important facet of an ai text to speech engine is that it can learn how to pronounce words the way you need. For example, you may have certain terminology, jargon or acronyms that you want the AI to say in a particular way. Whereas some platforms are clunky when it comes to learning the nuances of scripts, WellSaid Labs AI takes in pronunciation cues to help achieve the best results. That means that you can save things you’ve taught the algorithm, such as specific pronunciations, and come back years later with the Voice Avatar able to recall the same information. What’s more, you can transfer that data across Voice Avatars, so you don’t have to instruct Voice Avatars every time you introduce a new voice to your story.
Another way that you can greatly enhance your production is by having the ability to edit the voiceover renderings directly. The catch here is that you should look for a platform that enables editing but doesn’t rely on editing for a solid final cut. You may want to cut out little pauses, re-render certain phrases, or update small sections of your scripts. Ensure your text-to-speech platform enables this, as it will ensure your renderings sound as realistic as possible. It will also give you the ability to continually update your scripts with minimal post-production time.
Test realistic text-to-speech for yourself
If you’d like to test your own ear against how human-like text-to-speech can sound, listen to our realistic text-to-speech demos, start a trail, render your text and then download the MP3 voice over. We bet you’ll be surprised to hear they’re not technically human.