Is text to speech a real voice?

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A woman speaking into a microphone

You may have seen discussion online about this question, so we'll discuss why and how text to speech is a real voice in certain cases.

There are many different kinds of text to speech tools and services out there online ranging from the simple to the complex.

But what almost all of them have in common is the fact that real human voices are used to generate the text to speech.

In other cases, such as with typecast.ai, real career voice actors are used and paid royalties to use their voices to create realistic text to speech in an ethical way.

A condensor microphone for recording vocals

Using real voice actors

As mentioned above, a service with speech synthesizer technology such as Typecast uses real voice actors to create the virtual characters that can be used by anyone.

This solves many problems when it comes to things such as quality and ethics.

Some people have protested the use of text to speech since it's conception, mostly due to uncanny valley and the worry that it will take job opportunities from real people.

All of these concerns are quite valid, which is why some services are looking for ways to develop voice cloning technology with real voice actors in the loop.

It is becoming more inevitable that content creators will look to virtual voice actors to voice their content for them as they become more and more sophisticated.

RGB-backlit keys of a white keyboard

We can already see this in live streaming these days on platforms such as Twitch.

You'll see many Twitch streamers using text to speech tools to voice their audiences comments in real-time. This is just the beginning.

Quality of the voice

Now we'll talk about how text to speech can be a real voice, and this depends on the quality of the speech generation itself.

We've already talked extensively about how text to speech technology can make the voice sound very natural.

It can achieve this due to the use of AI which can understand and react to the context of the text you type.

Other neat quirks such as the ability to convey emotion are also becoming present in the more high-end speech synthesis tools.

All of these come together to produce a voice, although artificial, to sound like something more and more close to humans.

A list of characters available on Typecast

Benefits of virtual voice actors

Professional text to speech services give more accessibility to just about anyone who needs voice-overs for their content.

Unless you are a voice actor yourself with a decent recording setup that can record your own lines for your content, you're out of luck.

Being able to create an avatar that can generate realistic human speech anywhere and anytime in an ethical way is a huge game changer for the content creators.

When you consider the fact that a real voice is used to create virtual voice actors, and that AI is used to make sure the virtual voice actor can understand and read a script like a real human, then it is safe to say that some text to speech could be a "real voice".

Contributions:

cottonbro ~ Photography
Amin Asbaghipour ~ Photography
Maik Poblocki ~ Photography