Last updated - April 13, 2023
Also known as “read-aloud” technology, text-to-speech (TTS) technology interprets digital text aloud using natural language processing. It is the opposite of speech-to-text technology, which uses technology to capture spoken words and attempt to precisely translate them into writing.
While the technology is popular and helpful, the text-to-speech technology found in a website, video maker, or application is actually hard to develop. It demands the expertise of programmers who are knowledgeable about AI and machine learning. The biggest difficulty remaining is removing the uncertainty and barriers that prevent more accurate TTS rendering. However, there has been a lot of improvement and tremendous advancement in this technology.
How does TTS Work?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been employed by many companies and organizations to create innovative processes and solutions. Two applications of AI that show amazing strength are text recognition and TTS conversion.
An AI-based system with natural language processing (NLP) skills is needed to operate a TTS system. The text is more engaging and fluent because of the human-sounding voices produced by the NLP engine. This NLP engine receives a large block of text and splits it up into smaller chunks of words and sentences. Each word is then processed to create the best possible speech.
The voice in TTS is computer-generated, and the reading speed can often be changed. Some voices sound like individuals, despite voice quality variations. Even artificial voices that mimic the speech of young toddlers are readily available. When words are read aloud, several TTS tools highlight those words.
Moreover, some TTS programs use a technique known as optical character recognition (OCR). An OCR application extracts and reuses data from scanned documents, camera photographs, and image-only PDFs. With OCR software, which separates letters from images, turns them into words and then turns the words into sentences, the original content may be retrieved and changed.
TTS is totally computer-generated and may therefore be used with any digital device that can interface. These devices include computers, tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
This kind of software is also very simple to use. With a single click, the device will instantly take the text that is displayed on the screen, process it, and produce the audio. It has the ability to turn various words and phrases from a digital device into audio. Generally, every document, including word files and pages, is compatible with it.
Anyone can readily convert text to speech using the online TTS tools available. TTS will offer both children and adults an experience that combines both the senses of sight and sound.
What are the Benefits of TTS?
All users can benefit from TTS, although some particular groups benefit more than others. TTS makes it significantly easier for those with learning disabilities who struggle to read lengthy passages of text due to dyslexia or other issues.
Moreover, individuals with literacy problems and those learning a second language frequently become upset when trying to explore the internet. This is because the internet is filled with so much unclear text, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the words. Despite the fact that many people can read information with a basic grasp of a second language, there are some who frequently struggle to do so fluently. With the aid of TTS technology, these individuals may comprehend material in a way that makes it simpler for them to remember it. This goes to show that TTS technology also facilitates literacy.
The technology may also be of help to those who are dealing with certain medical conditions. There are numerous medical disorders that cause children’s development to sluggishly progress. Such circumstances may lead a child to feel alone in the world. Nevertheless, a child can grow and develop normally with the help of technology like TTS. The child can use the said TTS technology to comprehend and take in words.
Other than these benefits, TTS also enables the following.
- Makes it possible for individuals to have fun and gives them the choice to access content while traveling
- Helps video makers and content creators do their job
- Assists those who are visually impaired
- Makes it easier to take in content that is too small to read
By guaranteeing that information is accessible in both written and audio forms, TTS facilitates access to internet material on any device for all people, fosters citizen involvement, and promotes corporate social responsibility.
What are the Types of TTS tools?
There are different kinds of TTS tools that users can try out. Virtually every type of device, including PCs, laptops, mobile phones, and even tablets, can use these technologies.
As mentioned earlier, TTS can be used to read aloud any document, whether they are word documents, PDFs, or even websites. Here are the types of TTS tools:
Integrated TTS tools
There are numerous devices with built-in TTS. This includes smartphones, tablets, desktop units, Chromebooks, and laptops. The biggest benefit of having integrated TTS software is that individuals won’t need to spend any money on additional software or apps.
Web-based TTS tools
One can also find reading assistance available across certain websites. Most of the time, internet users do not notice such online assistance, which is known as web-based TTS. They are shown in the bottom left corner of the display. The tool will begin reading verbal content once the internet user clicks on it.
Aside from this, Google also has a reading assistant, which is a microphone that appears on the screen when internet users search for a term on Google. The tool can also be used to learn the word’s pronunciation. This is also a part of web-based TTS.
On app marketplaces, there are numerous TTS mobile applications available. They are typically available for download on tablets and smartphones. These programs offer numerous auxiliary features in addition to TTS software. Users may alter the highlighting colors, add bookmarks before exiting, and highlight certain passages of text.
TTS Software Programs
A variety of literacy software applications are also available for desktop and laptop computers. TTS is a feature of many of these apps, in addition to other reading and writing features.
The best TTS software is also available to boost productivity and accessibility. Anyone can get software from the market or online if it is not already installed on the computer. Examples are Read&Write and Claroread. Both of them are literacy tools that are booted with TTS technology within them.
Chrome is a platform that has a number of TTS tools. Read&Write for Chrome and Snap&Read Universal are examples of this. These resources can be used on a Chromebook or any other device using the Chrome browser.
TTS and Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI): What is it?
When it comes to TTS, it is important to place a strong emphasis on conversational AI. As the name implies, conversational AI is a broad phrase that refers to the application of automation and AI technology to create machinery that can translate text into speech.
Consumers can communicate with computer programs in the same manner they would with other people, thanks to a type of artificial intelligence called conversational AI. One of the most prominent instances in this area is Amazon’s Alexa.
The most popular form of conversational AI is advanced chatbots or AI chatbots. These are different from conventional chatbots. The technology can help both virtual agents and regular voice assistants. Conversational AI is based on emerging technologies that are increasing and improving quickly.
Conversational AI aims to offer a personalized experience for the user. Unlike the limited capabilities in conversations with typical conventional chatbots, a chatbot that is grounded on conversational AI can respond to frequently requested inquiries, fix problems, and even engage in small talk.
Moreover, conversational AI engagements are intended to be accessed and carried out via a variety of mediums, including voice, video, and text. This is unlike static chatbots, which are often presented on a company website and only allow for text-based interactions.
Which Businesses Benefit from TTS?
Businesses across different sectors from all over the world are interested in text-to-speech technologies. Even today, TTS technology is still improving and hasn’t yet reached its full potential. It’s an exciting time to make a name in the field of voice synthesis, so to speak.
Here are a few of the leading sectors that intelligently employ TTS software to increase sales and deliver superior customer service.
Banking and Finance Sector
It is safe to assume that the technology integration paid off since TTS software has started to permeate the financial services sector. People can now access real-time information, multipurpose service stations, and banking services without waiting in line. Indeed, clients can now select their preferred TTS language as well.
Fintech, or financial technology, is a growing and revolutionizing field that focuses on the delivery of financial services. Clients can easily use a speech-enabled ATM, withdraw cash at their own pace, and see account balances by following its step-by-step instructions. Aside from that, consumers may easily stay up to date on news pertaining to the stock market by using personalized voice messaging.
Travel and Tourism Sector
It frequently becomes challenging for the consumer and the tourism sector to communicate and resolve all of their concerns. Language can be a very difficult barrier, and this alone leads to many misunderstandings. Yet, the travel and tourism sector is able to answer nearly all of the questions a consumer would have by utilizing the capabilities of TTS software.
TTS software makes it simple for customers to access real-time information about the newest deals, travel updates, and much more. In fact, it can provide customers with guided tours to help them travel more quickly, more affordably, and with less effort.
TTS can produce words from a customer’s data that are read back to them in a nice, professional voice and can deliver personalized messaging that the caller can interact with. Every business needs a reliable communications system to conduct business with clients and consumers without interruption at any time of the day.
However, since every employee differs from one another, it’s not always possible to live up to expectations. TTS software is used to address this issue and guarantee an engaging and expert response to clients and consumers each and every time. Businesses can save transcripts of spoken conversations by turning call recordings of voice into correct text, which can then be searched later using keywords and dates to consistently provide appropriate responses. This shows how TTS technology can greatly improve customer convenience.
The e-learning business benefits from TTS since the technology enables them to bring more content to life. This includes e-books, PDFs, and various other training tools. When converting lengthy text paragraphs into playable audio, this method is extremely helpful. The TTS voice may instantly translate words into speech rather than paying a voice actor to read hours and hours of technical documentation.
Moreover, it can be challenging for young kids to pronounce some words correctly. TTS technology makes sure that each word is spoken clearly so that everyone can comprehend what is being said.
Because of the various websites that are easily accessible online, internet users are becoming more choosy. Attractive visuals and informative content are no longer enough to keep visitors engaged. The fact that different users can utilize the site on different devices is what matters.
One of the best options for reaching a large audience with content delivery is text-to-speech technology. As mentioned earlier, the TTS technology is typically used by people who have reading and vision problems, but it has many additional advantages for various users and businesses.
Having a solid understanding of text-to-speech has several advantages for businesses. The majority of people think this is just a piece of assistive technology. However, this technology is evidently and rapidly taking over daily life. These days, almost all types of personal digital devices include this technology, making it easier than ever for businesses to use it in their digital transformation plans.