As a voice actor, you came across many people using Text-to-speech technology for converting text in audio form, and you got worried about technology taking over your profession; you feared becoming redundant? If yes, then this blog is for you.
There is no doubt that technology has replaced countless human jobs with automated processes. Many professionals lost their identities with a radical shift in technological advancement.
Let us go through what Text-to Speech does, which is creating fear.
Pros of TTS
Text-to-Speech is a technology that reads aloud the text. The user just needs to click and enable the Text-to-Speech option, and TTS will start taking the words on the screen and read them aloud. It reduced the stress in reading long texts and emerged as a powerful tool for visually impaired people.
If we talk about its application in voice over services offered by a professional voice over agency worldwide, TTS has taken a long leap since it was firstly introduced in talking machines. Today TTS is not just reading the text aloud. Applications offer multiple language-based TTS options at the mere cost of a single app subscription value, so it’s solving translation problems.
With Artificial Intelligence’s help, the TTS feature can ask the user if he is listening or software should take a pause, which is making the experience more realistic. It can even adjust regional pronunciations. But all this is happening in synthesized human voices only.
TTS system today specializes in synthesizing the voice sample and can do the voice-over in that particular voice sample as per the user’s choice. So fear of voice-over artists is they have no control over the future use of their voice. It also means using voice in voice-over, which may not even be ethically acceptable for the artists.
The fear is not uncalled for but before gearing up to yourself, let us also look into the cons of TTS.
Cons of TTS
Although, TTS technology-based software are increasing in the market, making it affordable to provide voice-over online. One major thing which lacks here is emotions. We can automate all instructions, but where the project relates to various social or economic issues or the listener’s concern, perfect sentiments are required to bind the listener.
Let’s look at the hardware aspect of TTS. The system needs to store and maintain an extensive database of voice samples and related coding for multiple dimensions, making its processing slow.
Another advantage of the human factor or in turn limitation of TTS is script proofreading. The automated features can edit up to a certain level of accuracy as the system will only look into the correctness of speech and not what is intended to communicate. TTS will only edit it from a grammatical point but cannot suggest some addition that may have been in the writer’s thoughts, but he skipped.
This is the reason why any written material needs proofreading at multiple stages. The Voice actor goes emotionally in the script and suggests terrific editing. It won’t be wrong to say that the scriptwriter and voice actor works as a team.
Ever tried TTS to voice-over poetry and then listened to a poet reciting that poetry who knows the emotions behind the words. The factor responsible for the hilarious gap is prosody which is an individual quality to read the rhythm in the text and match it like a piece of music in speech.
Further, voice synthesis for older people is still a challenge in TTS technology. Older people who develop hearing issues may face difficulty focusing on TTS-based voice-overs as it lacks modulation, and they can get distracted by the surrounding noise.
Due to a lack of emotions and voice modulations, TTS can have utility in limited areas but cannot replace voice-over artists from the market. TTS can synthesize an artist’s voice, but technology is yet not advanced to extract the emotions out of the voice.
We can understand it like when a voice artist gives voice-over for E-Learning modules, those module increases the reach of knowledge to the remote areas but still if a good teacher is around, he cannot be replaced.
There are many features that voice-over artists gain with experience. The modulation, inflection, intonations, etc., are not included in TTS as they are individual qualities. Remember FM station, a radio jockey binds a large population with his voice-over with intonations and not with the mere script or his voice.
We just need to look out for the strengths of voice-over artists above TTS and ways how artists can legally bind the use of their voice from any future use in TTS. The solution for the uncontrolled use of your voice is a proper legal contract. Always ensure to enter a legally binding contract before doing voice-over limiting the use of your voice only to the project you are paid for. If you are a voice actor looking to work on voice over recording projects, you can enroll with Voyzapp.com –India’s leading voice over marketplace- and start getting voice over work.