With the unprecedented advancement rate of technology, the innovations are creating new milestones every day. The technological boom is making the lives of people comfortable in the modern-day by uncomplicating the critical tasks and making them easier to handle for us.
Amidst a plethora of those examples, one such is the text to speech. There is plenty of text to speech tools that are found over the internet & they have all taken browsing, learning & marketing to the next level of new-age internet experience. But we’ll get into the tools later; now it is time for us to understand the history, aspects and contribution of text to speech technology in the human existence.
Defining Text To Speech & Its History
As the name suggests, text to speech is a technology that enables a device or software to convert the written text into voice notes or speech notes. In the year 1983, the first software of text to speech DECtalk was released. Of course, compared to today’s advanced solution, it was not perfect, but at that time, the innovation was definitely path-breaking. It was still a great hit with various companies like the MCI, Mtel & even the well-known theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author- Late Prof. Stephen Hawking. Today, the advanced text to speech voices enhanced by engineers, voice actors and linguists are used by nearly every person using smart devices.
In the section below, we will highlight some ways the text to speech robot is improving the modern life continuously:
- People with learning disabilities are greatly helped by the text to speech technology. Conditions like dyslexia or visual disability can affect the literacy opportunities, but with this technology now they can access the content in the format of speech so that they face no challenges in reading. Not only the internet but the text to speech-based devices are also being used in the everyday digital devices to help them.
- It is found in many research figures that more information are retained by students when learning is backed by various methods of teaching, one of which is the vocal delivering of information. Text to speech helps the students to learn more as they retain more by hearing and understanding their curriculum.
- Elderly people or mature readers seldom access the smart devices. This is because, in the majority of cases, technology seems to be complicated to their understanding. Their ignorance has let them avoid the nuances of the latest technology. For these readers, the text to speech has enabled them to acquire information with minimal device operation. The devices also do not strain their eyes which make it a great choice for them to spend their leisure time reading.
- It is not always possible to watch or read something visually while on the go. In our hectic life, with the daily hustle, it becomes difficult for us to read. So in cases like these, the text to speech technology comes in handy. With this feature, one can very much know the information from news or book just by plugging into the text to speech and listen to it.
Let’s Explore In Details, How To Use Google Text To Speech?
The text to speech feature by Google is the function of the translation of the text into spoken words. Amidst the plethora of options, Google’s WaveNet is a significant example. The WaveNet text to speech Google works through deep learning. It is a network of neural algorithms that sound to be human-like for the ears.
The software is used after purchasing it for Google. The price may be sensitive for a few in this case. The free plan translates 1000000 characters a month. That is actually a significant number of blog posts for any company.
WaveNet works as the audio data is placed sequentially with numerical values tagged with some frequency. In the gif above, you can see that the presented audio waves are represented in 1D and in a bigger size. They are dependent on each other through the time dimension.
The concept of enabling machines to communicate like humans is nothing new. WaveNet makes it possible to generate audio files in the form of end-to-end way. This makes the speech translation easy.
Here are some other examples of text to speech tools used today
1. Balabolka: It is a lightweight TTS tool which is portable easily but not mobile. You can definitely install that in the PC or also keep it in the USB and run from it. As the user, you can set the speed, get the text read from clipboard or import document of any kind. It is the voice quality that varies as all installed voices are not the same. Balabolka utilizes the voice of the system so that the files it produces, stay light in weight.
Price of the tool: Free
2. Zabaware Text To Speech Reader: Another free TTS software which is undoubtedly one of the best. The default voices come accompanied with the product and perform average. You can definitely install voices from other sources and use them with the software to give more natural feel. A fantastic feature of Zabaware is that you can copy the text snippet from your opened document and then paste it on the console for the voice to start reading it.
3. Text Aloud: The very name suggests what the software is about. It is a Window’s-based program that imports an audio file quickly. It will also let you export the speech files on to whatever device you use, even the mobile ones. The voice quality of the system, as pointed out by the users is considered to be average because the humane-like touch is absent from its generated files. It offers a free trial for everyone.
4. iSpeech: It is a premium service that considers only enterprises and businesses as their target customers. As a developer or a publisher who is in need of a voice piece, they can duly be served with the perfect file with iSpeech tool. They claim to be the software with the most natural voice, but unlike WaveNet or Amazon Polly, one can definitely make out the difference. It also offers a speech to text feature where one can dictate the content and get them transcribed automatically.
5. Amazon Polly: After Amazon Echo, it’s time to make way for Amazon Polly. The TTS is considered to be one of the most advanced options where the user can come across various features like choosing the language, the preferred voice and many more. Its database is the home to different languages of the world.
Price: Free Trial to Premium
So, Can Text To Speech Feature Be Used In Making Videos?
The answer is YES. But it is definitely tricky. The synthetic voice files are very much cost-effective and hence make for great alternative option of human-based voice over.
In fact, there are 3 significant reasons as to why it stands as a viable option for video making:
Pronunciation: Different words have different verbal elements and hence different intonation, acronyms, jargon & foreign versions. The pronunciation of each word hence is different. It depends on the context in which the words are used. The human voice-over might find it a challenging task to speak them at the correct approach all the time; but with TTS tools, this can be conveniently accomplished. The technical voices are flexible, and they can identify the accurate pronunciation by auto-analyzing the context.
Speed: Human-based voice-over has to be synchronized with the movement of every element on the screen. Not too fast or slow; the audio has to be at par with the content. Yet, in many cases, the artist fails to do so. For cases like these, the TTS tools stand tall. Since they are all automated and can be easily synchronized with the content, the speech placement falls in place every time.
Intonation: Based on the variable human understanding and approach to communication, a word or a phrase may have to come across the number of retakes due to the variable expression, tone and rhythm. It is for challenges like these; the TTS tools play the most active role into the making of any marketing video in a lesser time.
How TTS Should Be Used In Marketing Video Making
- The editing phase in the video making project is to be considered as an essential aspect. From compressing clips to re-editing visuals, the editor has to do a lot of adjustments and hence, you can understand the importance of text to speech tools in this segment. These tools are an excellent fit for making animated videos which in turn are articulate and captivating. The human voice-over may take time for critical retakes, but with text to speech tools, it is secure.
- Truth be told, voice-over performances of humans may not always be well-blended with the visuals. With TTS tools, the editing of intonations and retaking of context-sensitive pronunciations can be easily conducted.
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