Text-to-speech software can save you and you a significant amount of time (and potentially money). Here, we look at what these tools do – and some of the best available products.
What Is Text-To-Speech
In a nutshell, text-to-speech software – also called automatic speech recognition software (ASR) or text-to-voice software – is a computer program using linguistic algorithms to convert auditory signals into words using Unicode characters.
To put it more briefly, the software ‘listens’ to the audio and provides an editable, verbatim transcript.
It offers several benefits, including the fact that you can ‘hear’ a document while doing something else, better information retention if you tend to absorb things by listening, and a different way of sense-checking something you’ve written. For someone with a condition such as dyslexia or a visual impairment, these tools can be invaluable.
We also see bloggers using text-to-speech tools to convert their written creations into audible files, those on a tight budget using those instead of voiceovers to narrate videos and projects.
Voice quality can be variable, according to the solution used; some at the high end use acclaimed narrators such as David Attenborough or Morgan Freeman.
Do I Have To Pay For It
If you’re not going to be using your software much, then it makes sense to use a free tool. The paid versions may prove to be a better option, however, if you’re after more advanced features or would like to have more realistic voices.
Top Available Tools
Here’s a quick round-up of some of the text-to-speech software tools you could try:
A free text to speech online app. With a choice of interfaces and a dyslexia-friendly font, this free tool can be used in a couple of ways. Load documents to the built-in library, and get them read from there. Alternatively, use the ‘floating’ toolbar to highlight text anywhere and use the controls in your web browser, PC and elsewhere via their Chrome Extension. You can also upload photos or scans of text, while a built-in browser converts online content to speech quickly and easily. In addition NaturalReader offers a very user friendly interface and easy to follow step by step instructions.
Google gives you a possibility to use their API powered AI technologies. It’s available with over 100 voices and multiple languages. The results are amazing too. One of the best text-to-speech tools available (quality wise). It’s perhaps not “out of the box” solution and will require some developer knowledge to integrate. It is not free and the quote is only provided after you contact the sales team. This one may be a good options for businesses looking to use it on regular basis.
Alternative to Google with easier setup and free plan (first 5 million characters each month). It will still require some basic technical know how. It offers high quality, natural sounding voices with pay as you go pricing. Great tool to get started with as you can easily scale it up!
Available with a one time purchase fee (60 days money guarantee). Works with PC and Apple users. Multiple languages and voices available. Their market sits with content creators who are looking for realistic voices to read their messages. Their AI technology is amazing and I will admit that some of the recordings are rather hard to tell apart from a real voice. If you are looking for a simple out of the box solution with no recurring fees – this one may be for you.
Descript is an amazing audio editing tool that uses AI for a variety of things. One of them is their realistic voice cloning add on. Descript lets you create a text-to-speech model of your own voice or you can use their computer generated alternatives. They claim to be the only 44.1KHz broadcast quality voice synthesizer. Plans start at free and go up based on the usage. Great tool to simply get started with.
The End of Human Voice Overs?
The AI tools are getting better by the minute. It’s definitely a space we need to watch closely. There will always be a place for technology but equally there will always be a place for real humans too. We don’t think that human voiceovers are going anywhere just yet (for further reading on this check out ‘Could Text To Speech Kill The Voice Over Star’).
If you would like to get a real human being to help with your next project – our team can help you with your custom voice overs, so simply ask us for a tailored quote today.