The advantages of using TTS voiceovers when localizing videos into multiple languages are lower costs and quicker delivery times. However, quality has definitely come a long way as well.
Synthetic speech or Text to Speech (TTS) technology has been around for decades, but thanks to advances in Machine Learning and Deep Neural Networks, the quality of synthesized speech has improved significantly. Today, deep learning algorithms give rise to human-sounding synthetic speech like we’ve never heard before. These AI powered voices sound so natural and lifelike that, when used to dub videos for various business purposes, listeners have a hard time detecting they’re synthetic.
English, being the lingua franca of business, has the most natural sounding synthetic voice options available. You’ll also find that the audio quality of TTS voices in other languages is steadily improving; this is particularly true for French, German, Mandarin, Spanish as well as other widely recorded voiceover languages.
Although they can’t replace human voiceovers, machine-generated voiceovers offer an alternative for projects that are time- and budget-sensitive. Here are five reasons for using TTS or AI voices for your multilingual videos. (In this article, we will be using TTS, AI and synthetic voices interchangeably.)
1. Simpler Process
The voiceover recording process in any video localization project relies on many factors and requires several steps. Whether you choose a human voice actor or a TTS voice, the process of voice casting is similar in that you need to listen to a variety of voice profiles before selecting the one you want. However, that’s where the similarities end. With TTS Voices, you don’t need to negotiate the rate and usage rights, nor do you need to give recording directions and hope the final outcome is what you requested. For various reasons, a voiceover talent may not respond to your emails and messages instantly to confirm acceptance of the job, or may miss the delivery deadline. With a machine-generated voice, you get the results instantly, there is no waiting for confirmation, or any risk of missing the deadline.
2. Lower Cost
The cost of adding human voiceovers to a video depends on the recording rate of the voice talent, the distribution rights fee, and recording studio fees (if the voice talents doesn’t have their own home studio). As the distribution fee and recording studio fee are fixed costs, recording a script for a short video can be prohibitive, and even for a long script, it can be costly.
This is why using synthetic voices is a budget-friendly alternative. Online TTS platforms are widely available on the internet, ranging from free DIY options to a minimal monthly fee to a customized quote for larger or specialized projects. In addition, you have the rights to own, distribute and commercialize the audio as you wish without paying extra fees.
3. Always Available
Since TTS voices are machine-generated and stored in the cloud, they are always available and accessible. As soon as the translated script is ready, the audio can be generated with a click of a button. If there are any changes in the script or adjustments to be made to the audio file (read our post about using SSML to customize pronunciation), a new audio version can be easily generated.
Although human voice talents are professionals and often do their best to handle any re-recordings (or pickups, as they are called in the voiceover industry) when you need it, it isn’t always possible. By the time it’s decided that a pickup is needed, that same voice talent may not be available. Since you can’t choose another voice talent to do the pickup, you have to wait, which delays the completion of your project. When using AI voices, you’ll never have this problem because they won’t be busy with other projects, go on vacation or get sick; they’re always available.
4. Shorter Turnaround Time
Sometimes, shorter turnarounds result in reduced quality, but with synthetic voices, that’s never the case. The quality of AI voices is always the same and they’re always available, allowing you to generate the audio instantly, thereby shortening your project’s turnaround time. Changes to the script or audio won’t ever require booking another recording session and taking into consideration the voice talent’s schedule. With TTS voices, you simply make the edits and generate the new audio file instantly. This convenience allows you better control of the turnaround time, enabling you to meet your deadline.
TTS voices are perfect for scalability since they are always available, facilitate a simpler process and deliver a quicker turnaround time. In particular, they’re best suited for:
• Projects with multiple videos
• Projects that need several different voices
• Large scale projects that require many hours of collaborative work and studio sessions over a long period of time, requires a commitment from voice talent to be available when you want them
TTS voices can record any amount of text almost instantly, using different voices, and in multiple languages easily and quickly.
Suitable Projects for TTS
The speed of technological advancement in synthetic speech has produced key benefits to using TTS voices to localize and dub your videos into any language you want.
Of course, you may still feel that text to speech doesn’t sound natural enough and can never sound as rich as a real human voice. Synthetic voiceovers still lack the full range of expressiveness and emotiveness of a human voice, but they add value to specific projects. They may not be suitable options for voicing movies, commercials or radio spots, and long-form content like an audiobook or podcast. Yet, they are increasingly being used to voice eLearning modules, explainer and marketing videos, how-to instructional videos as well as IVR phone messaging.
If you’re looking for a voiceover that is easily customizable, infinitely scalable, and effortlessly natural, using a synthetic voice could be the right fit for your next project.
Listen to lifelike TTS voices in over 40 languages and generate some audio files with your own script using our self-service AiVoices. If you have a voice project that requires our TTS Full Service, contact us directly and we’d be more than happy to help out.