29 July 2021
Julianna Sykutera

Text-to-Speech Implementation that Changed the Fate of Businesses

Text-to-speech software does exactly what the name suggests – converts written words to computer-generated audio format. While it may seem like a simple concept, it’s taken a long time to get where it is today, and its impact is far from negligible. 

The people who have the most use for this kind of technology are the visually or speech impaired, the illiterate, dyslexic, or anyone with similar issues. But, it doesn’t stop there! Students looking for alternate education methods turn increasingly to audio learning through text-to-speech software. Multi-taskers who prefer to consume their books and news through their earphones while their hands are otherwise occupied have also been taking advantage of text-to-speech AI. The examples are countless. 

Over the years, technological advances have made artificial speech sound much less robotic and increasingly more human, and therefore more appealing. As text-to-speech programs become more sophisticated, they have been adopted by various industries, and their use is predicted to continue to grow at accelerated rates. So, what exactly are the benefits of using text-to-speech AI, and how can they impact businesses? 

Benefits of text-to-speech

There are three major benefits of this invention.

Accessibility

as already mentioned, text-to-speech helps many people with various kinds of learning disabilities and issues, making a lot of content more available for millions of users. As an example, Google has its own such extension – Chrome text-to-speech – which can read aloud any page the user is on! Similarly, Tiktok is aiming for accessibility by allowing users to use text-to-speech AI for their posts. 

Cost-effectiveness

Operational costs can be significantly cut down for a few reasons. For one, there is no need to hire a voice actor for every job – it’s a one-time investment. This also means that it’s easily scalable, without requiring extra cash. Finally, in terms of mobile marketing, text-to-speech can replace many phone operators by automatically processing large numbers of calls.

Flexibility

content can be taken away from the computer/mobile screen, allowing users to consume at their own convenience. When businesses implement such features, customer experience is enhanced, thus increasing the chance of monetizing.  Furthermore, there is a safety factor! For example, if someone is driving and they receive a text message, instead of engaging in the risky activity of looking at their phone while driving, a text-to-speech app can read it out for them.

What do businesses gain by implementing text-to-speech software?

Text-to-speech tools come in various forms: web-based, apps, software programs, built-in, etc. Many times, this feature goes hand in hand with the opposite and equally as an important feature – speech-to-text. Speech-to-text uses voice recognition software to convert spoken language into written text. Let’s take a look at a few examples of businesses and industries implementing text-to-speech and their reasons to do so.

Education

Elearning businesses have adopted text-to-speech for multiple reasons:

  • To grant accessibility to students with any learning disability. Such elements lead to higher student engagement, better comprehension abilities, and therefore to improved results – the goal of any elearning product. 
  • To offer students another mode of learning – studies have shown that students who use both audio and visual modes of learning have higher retention rates.
  • To help students learn reading, writing, and speaking. For example, students learning a new language can learn word pronunciation and spelling by following the written and spoken text simultaneously. 

Entertainment and Media

Text-to-speech solutions have many practical applications in entertainment and media:

  • They eliminate the need for voice actors for video games. 
  • The are used by television manufacturers to address accessibility issues for individuals with hearing/sight loss, or similar impairments.
  • News and magazine websites and apps use text-to-speech to allow individuals to consume content while away from the screen.
  • They are being heavily used in gaming chat platforms – an example is the text-to-speech software by Discord.

Communication

Customer support is a very time-consuming and challenging job – a constant interaction with different individuals is bound to get a little trying. By employing communication AI that uses text-to-speech technology, the company can tackle many more customer calls and human operators can jump in where they’re needed without feeling overwhelmed. Text-to-speech AI can use customized messaging for engaging with callers while remaining friendly and respectful throughout. Furthermore, speech-to-text technology is also very useful here for converting the conversation into transcripts which are then used for improving company practices or marketing strategies. 

Travel

Text-to-speech tech has also made the lives easier for many tourists as well as tourism employees:

  • The language barrier between foreign visitors and local hotel employees or tourist agencies is much smaller by the use of apps combining translation capabilities with text-to-speech AI.
  • Museums and tour guides offer self-guided audio tours – any written transcript can get converted to synthetic speech.
  • Navigation – apps like Google Maps use text-to-speech to read out directions to travelers. 
  • Information stands at airports, tourist spots, and transportation hubs can use text-to-speech to be more accessible for all tourists, regardless of language spoken.

To sum up

The benefits of text-to-speech technology are irrefutable – it’s not just a marketing gimmick! Numerous companies are investing in the development of this technology to further improve user experiences. As machine learning continues to evolve, and artificial voices become even better at imitating human speech, someday you’ll be conversing with a robot and you won’t even know it! We are excited to see how this technology develops further and how many lives it will positively impact.

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