Text To Speech technology: Helping those in need

text to speech

Text-to-speech (TTS) technology is one of the many beneficial technologies created to help and increase efficiency in terms of workload and struggles. Text to speech technology is used now to help content creators, educators, games developers, podcasters, bloggers, digital marketers, disabled people, and many more. TTS reads digital text aloud – from computers, tablets, and smartphones. Children who struggle with reading during early age can depend on TTS to help them get through their homework or research.

It is an assistive technology that reads digital text out loud. It’s also known as “read aloud” technology. TTS can process and convert words on screens or other digital devices into audio with the click of a button or the touch of a finger.

How It Works

  • A TTS technology converts written text into a phonemic representation, which will later transform into waveforms and send out as sound.
  • TTS is compatible with almost all personal digital devices, such as laptops, smartphones, computers, etc. All types of text files, including Microsoft Word and Pages documents can be read out loud. Not to mention, even web pages on the internet work well with TTS.
  • TTS uses a computer-generated voice, and the reading speed can typically be adjusted. The quality of the voices varies, some sound human while others may sound robotic There are also computer-generated voices that imitate the voices of children.

Text To Speech Technology Is Essential

  • Extend reach of content to users

TTS makes the material accessible to a wider audience, including those with reading disabilities, low vision, and those keen on learning a new language. It also makes digital content more accessible to someone else looking for a simpler way to get their hands on it. 

  • High reach to ageing users that wants to use digital products

Chances of having blurry visions or vision impairment increase as people age, TTS helps content to be read aloud for elderly users to continue using digital products for a great user experience.

  • To learn a new language

It’s never easy to learn a new language, everyone struggles with it. TTS allows new learners to listen to the way words sound when they read. TTs, when used in this way, may be a helpful tool for immigrants learning a foreign language as well as pre-literate children learning to speak for the very first time.

  • Users having medical conditions that affects their voice

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is expected that by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are estimated to have a certain degree of hearing loss. Not only elderly people, but over 1 billion young adults will be at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss. For many people, they deemed their voice to be their identity, a distinct feature similar to their own fingerprints. TTS can help people with a speech disability or who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that has affected their ability to speak. Not too long ago, new types of TTS technology were introduced to recreate the sound of a person’s voice from before the time they were diagnosed.

  • Support in reminding around the home

TTS enables virtual assistants that can help people who benefit from daily oral reminders or conversation. Because AI is built to generate responses and engage with users, this is beneficial to those who are living alone. There are also applications where babysitters use AI to provide medication reminders or allow family members to check in remotely.

Can Text To Speech Technology Be Used in Making Videos?

The answer is a solid YES. However, it is quite challenging and tricky. Synthetic voice files are extremely cost-effective, making it an excellent alternative to human-based voice over replacement. There are 3 major reasons why it is a viable choice for content creation:

  • Speed: The movement of any feature on the screen must be synchronized with the human-based voice-over. The audio should level the same and match the content. However, many artists sometimes struggle to do so. TTS technology shines in situations like these. Since they’re all automatic and easily synchronized with the content, the speech falls in the right place every time.
  • Intonation: Due to various languages, sound, and rhythm, a word or a phrase may require a number of retakes based on the variable human understanding and approach to communication. TTS technology plays the most active role in the development of any marketing video in a shorter amount of time because of challenges like these.
  • Pronunciation: Different words have different linguistic components, which leads to differences in intonation, acronyms, jargon and foreign translations. As a result, each word has a different pronunciation. The meaning of the words are determined by how they are used. It might be difficult for a human-voice-over to speak them in the correct manner and terms all the time, but this can easily be done with TTS technology. The technological voices are adaptable, and they can detect the right pronunciation by analyzing the context automatically.

Text to Speech for Developing Games

In order to compete with heavyweight industries such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, independent game developers are attempting to carve out a slice of the pie without breaking the bank. TTS generated character voices are a cost- effective way to provide immersive game and sound experience that gamers want, and digital solutions are offsetting the cost and time associated with recruiting top-notch voice talent or even Hollywood artists to voice game characters. The use of neural voices to convey sentiment, speech style, and character identification is becoming more popular for game developers to use TTS technology to bring their stories and games to life.

Although there are selectively one-of-a-kind speaking styles that are very game specific, it demonstrates the realism and scalability that neural TTS can now provide. The voice will be used as a digital asset in future game instalments and also as a basis for creating other characters and narrations. Here are 3 most common usage for TTS technology in the gaming industry:

  • Accessibility

Game play guidance and features are usually offered by a combination of graphic and text indicators when onboarding new users to a digital game. Visually impaired players and younger users who have not yet been taught to read are often alienated by storylines portrayed in text. By using TTS technology to allow voice-enabled tutorials, games can cater to a wider range of users while also providing a more interactive, immersive experience.

  • Voices of Characters

At the time, digital voices couldn’t accurately reflect various character types (and differentiate from bad characters to silly ones, etc.) As a result, TTS technology has had a long-standing image crisis, with the perception that TTS technology voices were too synthetic until recently. Characters can now be voiced on-brand with clear consistency and speaking style thanks to today’s neural voices. Laughter, emotions, and other linguistics that don’t exist in the dictionary and expressions work together to bring synthetic characters to life and expand the realm of possibility beyond what was previously available.

  • Prototypes in Game

When checking scripts before hiring voice actors to read the final dialogue or narration, TTS technology is used in the prototyping process of game production. TTS helps writers and creators to quickly change lines of dialogue and listen to variations in real time to ensure that the character, scenario, scene, or plot is accurately represented. Production time is sped up with TTS technology as a prototyping method, allowing for measurably faster creation and time to market.

How Neural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Turn Text To Speech To Sound Like A Human

TTS Synthesis is the process of converting text into audio. This task can be completed by a person simply by reading. The aim of a good TTS system is for it to be done automatically by a computer. Like Talking.Network, it recognizes that AI is just as smart as the people who use it. The conversational AI innovation starts with listening, analyzing, and a thorough understanding of each particular individual they represent. Any text can be converted to an audio file using the TTS service. When using Deep Learning for TTS, this used to be a limitation. You’d need to compile a text-to-speech dataset. The number of people who recorded that speech is actually fixed – you can’t have an infinite number of people. So if you wanted to make audio of your own or someone else’s voice, you’d have to collect a whole new dataset and this is called Voice Cloning.

It’s obvious that a computer needs to understand two things in order to read aloud with any voice: what it’s reading and how it’s reading. Researchers from Google have designed a voice cloning system to have 2 inputs: how we want the text to be read and using a sample of the voice to read the text. For example, having Anakin Skywalker read the phrase “I love Master Yoda”, then feeding the system two things: the text “I love Master Yoda” and Anakin’s voice so the system knows what Anakin sounds like.

Over the last few years, the Deep Learning group has focused a lot of attention on TTS systems. Indeed, several suggested solutions for TTS that are focused on Deep Learning work very well. The ability of the system to apply the “information” that the speaker encoder learns from the voice to the text is important.

Advantages of having Text To Speech Technology

  • It eases education
  • Avoids eye strain from using digital products to read
  • Great help to senior citizens or those having vision impairment.
  • It can assist in reading long paragraphs and provides a variety of accents and voices.

Disadvantages of having Text To Speech Technology

  • The system takes a long time to set up because it involves large databases and hard-coding of combinations to create these words.
  • The speech result is slightly unnatural and emotionless. This is due to the impossibility of obtaining actual audio recordings of all possible words spoken in all combinations of emotions, stress, slang, etc.
  • To filter background noise will be a struggle

A New Way of Communication

Text to speech technology is one of the most cutting-edge advancements made possible by artificial intelligence (AI). Beyond simply allowing a person to interpret text to be read aloud by a computer, voice computing allows the creation of entirely new synthetic voices. Computers can now be programmed to say the same sentence with different inflections. It’s likely that in the future, they’ll be able to understand how they can pronounce certain terms simply in the context of the words.

However, TTS may not emotive enough for the use in entertainment, but it can be a big time saver and a way to cut costs and inefficiencies in processes like voiceover data and scratch audio. This effect could erode a listener’s confidence in the brand that is using TTS or the information that the consumer is getting, so placing some barriers to perfection will potentially support the technology by preventing the uncanny valley effect from happening in the first place.