text-to-speech: young man speaking

Text-to-speech: is it the future of voice over?

Skynet! I,robot! AI takes over the world! Although it happens in Hollywood, only time will tell if AI takes over in reality. So far, however, AI tech has pretty much-transformed voice overs. Just think of voice assistants. Lost in an unfamiliar area, no worries! Siri’s right there to guide your travels. Even Alexa is standing by, ready to tell you a joke, turn on the TV, or find a last-minute recipe for Sunday brunch. All courtesy of text-to-speech voice talent.

Text-to-speech: woman holding megaphone
Image: Shutterstock

But with such popularity, it’s only natural to wonder if hiring professional voice actors from voice over platforms like Voice123 is still a feasible option. And it’s a valid question. Primarily since customer support, IVRs work well with text-to-speech voices, but hard-sell commercials and video game characters all need natural and persuasive voices. Our decades of voice over experience have also taught us that genuine voices like the Voice123 pros resonate most with audiences. So, to help shed a little light on the subject, let’s explore what are text-to-speech voices, their pros and cons, how they work, where to find them, and the benefits of using a voice actor in your projects.

What are text-to-speech voices

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Text-to-speech (TTS) voices is a technology that artificially synthesizes and mimics human speech by converting text into a spoken version. Although the software was previously intended for people with reading, vision-based, or learning disabilities, today, text-to-speech is particularly helpful in short-term voice overs. Like adding comedic effects to social media videos. Most computers and smart devices also have this software built-in, so it’s easily accessible at the click of a button or the touch of a finger,

On the flip side, however, text-to-speech voices fail to address critical qualities only a professional voice actor can satisfy. Such as genuine emotions coupled with soulfully nuanced delivery. Crucial elements in any voice over project. Especially if the aim is to reach and fully engage audiences. Imagine an AI voice telling you about the Lifeline Program insurance. A pale comparison to Betty White’s golden voice over. So, as a technological advancement, text-to-speech voices have several pros and cons compared to hiring a voice actor. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

3 pros of using text-to-speech voices

1. Instant translation

If you need to target a large audience in multiple languages, then using automated text-to-speech software is your best tool. You can instantly translate and record a voice over in hundreds of languages.

2. Cost-effective pricing

Because there is no human element, text-to-speech voices can be cost-effective. It eliminates certain fees associated with hiring voice actors, editing, or re-recording files.

3. Less time-consuming

Finding the right voice actor for your project takes time. But using text-to-speech software helps economize all of that time. And there are numerous software options available to help create voice over recordings. 

3 Cons of text-to-speech voices

1. Lacks tone and emotion

When you create a voice over, the goal is to share an experience with the audience and not just information. And human modulation, intonation, inflection, and vocal nuances are vital aspects of that vocal experience. Something text-to-speech voices are unable to provide.

2. Pronunciation inaccuracies

Automated voices can’t yet differentiate between dialects, accents, and pronunciations like voice actors can. And by nature, words put through text-to-speech software often sound clipped, which makes the articulation challenging for the audience to follow.

3. Subjectivity of thought

The brilliance of the human mind’s subjectivity is that thoughts vary from person to person. And since text-to-speech voices simply relate material, they can’t infuse the words with individuality.

How does text-to-voice-over work

Text-to-speech: woman watching a lecture on a laptop screen
Image: Shutterstock

Text-to-voice-over converts the text of varied files into speech on most devices, computers, smartphones, and even tablets. From Microsoft Word to documents and online web pages. Since text-to-speech voices are computer-generated, you can adjust the reading speed, speed up or slow down the sound based on preference. With this software, however, voice quality varies. Some voices sound less robotic than others; some sound like children. And other text-to-speech tools even use optical character recognition technology which reads text from images. For example, you could take a photo of a billboard and have the words on the sign turned into audio. Depending on your needs, text-to-speech voices have multiple uses. So, now that you know the nitty-gritty aspects of the software, here’s how to find the right text-to-speech voices for your audience. 

How to find text-to-speech voice talent

Text-to-speech is a handy on-the-go voice over solution. And once you have your audio file, you only need a voice to piece your project together. Naturally, nothing beats genuine-sounding voice overs made by an actual human. But finding an almost human presenter for your video requires some effort. Especially if you need to translate your video into different languages. NaturalReader, Speechify, and Amazon Polly are 3 of the top choices for lifelike human-sounding voices. Speechify has multiple natural-sounding voices in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. In contrast, Natural Reader has voices in niche languages like Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. While Amazon Polly uses deep learning technologies to create natural-sounding human speech in dozens of languages, male or female, and in adult or child English.

What are the benefits of hiring a voice actor

Text-to-speech: voice actress in front of a microphone
Image: Shutterstock

Sounding natural, persuasive, and confident is vital when converting text-to-speech. This is particularly true in most environments, from commercials to video games. So, a call to action without human emotional appeal will likely fall flat. Human voices form a bridge between companies and customers. For example, a human voice offers people a better learning experience in eLearning. And a talented voice actor can provide a captivating delivery, emulating a passionate teacher. Professional voice actors also know how to use their voices to keep an audience focused. They use inflection and tone to adapt the words to have maximum impact on listeners. So using a professional voice actor rather than a machine personifies your company, building trust. 

Final thoughts on text-to-speech voices

AI tech paints an extreme future for software like text-to-speech voices. All you have to do is think of Jexi, Avenger’s Jarvis, and The Matrix’s sentient machines. But aside from Hollywood hits, AI-like text-to-speech software is still far from replacing human voices. And while the software can help translate text in multiple languages, reduce cost, and save time, it also lacks tone, emotion, pronunciation accuracies, and thought subjectivity. So deciding where and how to use text-to-speech voices ultimately depends on your audience. 

But on that note, we’d like to wish you the best of success in the world of text-to-speech voices. AI. And whenever your project needs a human voice, remember you can always post a project for free on Voice123. This way, you’ll gain instant access to numerous voices. Even if you’re after an AI voice like Siri or Alexa!

FAQ’s on text to voice over

What is text to voice over?

This is the process of converting written text into vocal speech for various reasons. This can done by utilizing various types of machine-based software or using a voice actor which adds a human touch.

How can I get professional text to speech?

There are usually two options available. You can use machine-based software to read the words into a converted audio file. Or you can hire a voice actor which adds more life and personality into the audio file.


Find the best voice actors for your project!


Related Posts