The last decade has seen rapid development in text to voice technology. Major tech companies are competing against each other to provide the best voice options with realistic features. Even small open-source markets are invested and involved. But one substantial question occurs to mind: With text to voice technology submerging the modern world, are we saying goodbye to human voiceover business?
Artificial Intelligence is slowly sliding into our professional and daily life. The first thing you do in the mornings is to prepare your coffee. You probably have one of those high-end coffee machines that greet people. You might also try to ask your phone for directions. These daily activities go unnoticed since they are immersed deeply in our daily routine. We are now, more than ever, surrounded by the most creative technology. The best part about it though is that it’s in constant development. A new and advanced version of Text to voice technology is on the rise.
The first creation of speech synthesis dates back to 1975 with MUSA. The early prototype was one of the first real-time Text to speech systems. The reason they were first developed is to help the visually impaired and give them the opportunity to hear any type of text using text-to-voice software. So the core principle of creating this technology was providing assistance.
Text to voice was used as a solution for the visually impaired and never a threat to other voiceover methods. However, in recent years, businesses have sought great advantages in using Text to speech voiceover technique than hiring a voiceover actor to do the job. Some of these businesses are banking and finance, telecommunications, Elearning, automotive manufacturing, and more!
This may hinder the growth of the voiceover business that was once created for these particular businesses. Voiceover actors were hired to record an audio message for banking and finance as a trusty method back in the day. They were also used in voice mails and train station voice messages before the development of text to speech.
This was an actual career that allowed people to make money by using their voice. Lately, voiceover actors are getting more recognition in different careers such as commercials, TV, radio sessions, audiobooks, Podcasts, etc.
Since Text to voice is a relatively new tool, it also comes with a set of challenges. The same goes for voice-over actors, they have been around before text to speech technique. Yet they have started to get ignored due to some accessibility issues. To understand which one of the two has potential strengths to overcome the other, we need to check the pros and cons of each one of them.
Human Voiceover in Present Times: Outlook and Challenges
The most important aspect in converting a text to speech is to have a natural sound.
Voice actors are agents who read, perform and interpret words using the most adequate voice. They are usually self-employed and tend to have flexibility in projects they undertake.
Voice over is considered a real job in the UK and US, since they are heavily used in radio dramas, documentaries, and podcasts. It is considered a specialized dramatic profession in the UK and supported by the British Actors Union.
Voice Over Actors – Best Practices
When you introduce yourself as a voiceover actor to someone, they will probably ask you if you have starred in any animation movies or if you’re part of the Disney team. The reason is that Disney is one of the big companies that actually offer auditions to become a voiceover actor. The whole concept of having animation come to life and perform as human beings can only be achieved if they have human-like voices.
Some voiceover actors have been in this industry for a long period of time. They are notorious for voicing different secondary characters in well-known movies and changing their pitch whenever met with new projects.
Furthermore, the majority of famous animated characters you could ever think of are actually performed by famous actors in Hollywood and around the world: Think Minnie Driver as Jane in Tarzan. There is also Rowan Atkinson ( the legendary Mr. Bean) as Zazu the bird in the lion king and Christian bale ( the original Batman) who voiced the character of Thomas in Pocahontas.
Besides voice acting in movies, television series are also a booming opportunity for voiceover actors to shine. You might have seen or heard of The Simpsons, a series about American life in a satirical depiction. The series debuted in 1989 and it’s still considered one of the most-watched and anticipated series in American history. Some of the characters have been voiced by the same actor since the debut of the series to this day!
Moving to a more corporate world, voiceover actors can be seen as a linking bridge between a company and its customers. These actors deliver a solid connection in a form of voice as well as ensure a sense of reliability for consumers. Voice actors can be used in product advertisements, or for a company’s live events.
The technique is also valid for E-learning. Businesses that offer E-learning programs are requested to come up with engaging and informative courses for their customers or any person willing to learn a new skill. These courses can be in different formats but it’s advised to invest in the best method that will attract people and dull and monotonous experience.
Since most companies may not have the necessary requirements to voice the course, they usually opt to employ a voiceover who will provide accurate delivery and captivate people with their passionate tone. The result is always positive as this method improves the learning process tremendously.
Voice Over Actors – Drawbacks
Opting for a voiceover actor for your business and projects does indeed come with multiple constructive and practical results. However, it is crucial to point out a few drawbacks that can be unfavorable in most case scenarios.
For everyone interested in being a professional voiceover, starting a career as a voiceover actor is not always peaches and roses. The beginnings may not be smooth as some probably think. You have to deal with a lot of costs before getting qualified and noticed.
For businesses willing to invest in voiceover actors, it is important to note that the cost can be high depending on the quality and sound qualifications of voice actors.
The latter has probably spent an incredible amount of money trying to coach their voices and purchase voice setups for their studio. The equipment is known to be pricey and expensive.
Therefore, you may be introduced to some voice actors who haven’t taken proper training or didn’t invest in good quality setups. The end result will not be worth the money nor the effort.
Another aspect is the availability factor. Human beings sometimes go through unexpected circumstances like sickness, travel, or limited schedules. Therefore, as a business owner, you need to consider all these elements when hiring a professional voiceover. Some voice actors can roughly work for 3 to 4 hours before demanding a break. This is understandable as they need to recharge and regain their energy to give their full capacity.
Businesses also need to consider that some voiceovers will ask for sick leaves if the project happens to last for months/years. Project managers will have to adapt projects’ due dates based on the voice actors’ situation. It is not always ideal to manage the project based on different parties’ availability otherwise you will be left with a vague due date.
Text to Voice as an alternative to Human voicing: What to consider?
After analyzing human’s ability to produce good quality voice overs for different types of businesses but also few drawbacks businesses need to consider when hiring a voiceover actor, it is important to also review the same for text to speech technology.
Text to voice technology – Your new Best Friend!
For so long, text to speech was only used as a helping tool for the visually impaired. However, with the development of multiple businesses and big firms working to enhance text to speech, this tool is now indispensable for most markets.
There are some particular conditions that Text to voice is the preferred choice.
In a business context, presentations often require updates and edits when new results or new information are needed. In case these presentations are voiced by a human voiceover, it might be challenging to hire the same voiceover to do these modifications. The latter may be engaged in other projects and an additional cost is also needed.
One way to make this work is by investing in a Text to voice software that can do the job of voicing the presentation and edit the voice when needed with no additional costs or fuss.
For small businesses or startups who are embarking on the business world, money can be a huge burden. Business owners invest their own personal money to establish a standalone business that will later provide stable revenues. However, in order to create marketing campaigns to make the business financially settled, it is important to work on multiple materials and strategies which require serious budgeting and logistics.
Therefore, having access to a text-to-voice tool will help marketers gain time and spend less money that could be useful in other aspects of the campaign.
Text to voice is critical if you are a business targeting foreign customers. How often can you hire voiceovers who speak different languages and have outstanding results without having to break your back with the amount of money you need to spend?
Usually, text to voice tools supports different languages and accents that can accommodate everyone.
Moving on to one of the most anticipated aspects of why text to voice is crucial, and that is Time! The process of generating a text-to-speech voiceover takes less than 10 minutes depending on the software type. You simply add your text, choose a voice that’s suitable for your project, and generate. Some software even has specialized features to customize the pitch, volume, add music and breaks.
Text to Voice Technology – What to Consider?
As much as Text to voice is saving people’s time and money, there might be few aspects that won’t work in most cases and for some businesses.
The art of converting a simple text with multiple information to a voice is to provide a sort of experience and not just monotonous information. Some software in the market has good quality voices but they require additional costs.
If you opt for the most basic, computer-generated voices, you tend to have a result that lacks intonation, modulation, and nuance. These are crucial if you want your text to have that emotional flavor.
The second aspect is pronunciation. An automated voice is unlikely to support unusual characters of a certain dialect. The outcome might not be worthy for people who speak that specific dialect. As a result, minorities may find it hard to work with Text to voice tools or even ditch the whole AI technology. This brings us to the question of inclusivity and minority recognition.
Big firms creating these text-to-speech voices are bound to accommodate all languages in the world. It’s not just the matter of supporting languages used by a big number of people or even worse, languages used in the business realm. The question is about the benefits this technology has on small businesses from developing countries or to people with visual impairment who seek new ways to make their lives a lot less complicated.
Last but not least is the process of forming a thought. In simple words, every human differs in terms of their thought process. It is subjective and personalized. Therefore the way a text is written depends on the person and what they would like to convey through it. They might have certain feelings when writing certain sentences and hope that the tool would generate the same emotions. But the results are not always rewarding. It requires tremendous work to try and customize the voice to bring it to its full potential.
With that being said, you have the choice to choose whichever method you feel will suit your project best. You are not conformed to use one specific tool and have it run through your entire business. The key is to be able to distinguish how both methods can work with your business.