From Text to Voice: Advancements in Text-to-Speech Technology

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8 min read
Dec 15, 2023
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You're reading this article for one reason.

You're curious about the advancements in text-to-speech (TTS) technology. Another reason is that you want to explore ways TTS can upscale your business.


Did I mention two reasons? Well, there you have it!

In any case, let's agree on something. Automated text communication is crucial in customer service. This article aims to give you a comprehensive knowledge of TTS. Automated text communication is an affordable form of marketing that reaches a wide demographic while strengthening customer loyalty and interaction.

Imagine this. You have some complaints about a product you bought but can't file a complaint because it's past working hours. It sucks, right? I agree. That's how daunting customer service used to be, but not anymore.

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What is TTS?

TTS is an assistive technology that converts words on a digital device into audio. The speech aims to have a natural-sounding voice for better human connection, and it is alternately called "read aloud" technology.

How does text-to-speech work?

A text-to-speech engine converts written text to a phonetic representation, creating a waveform. This waveform is processed to form sounds. Voice tone, syllable stress, pitch control, and rhythm are factors to be considered as they affect speech synthesis.  

The more complex truth is that TTS technology converts written words into spoken language in several stages. First, it analyzes and normalizes the input text, identifying words and adapting to natural speech. It then divides the text into phonemes, the basic sound units of language. Acoustic models predict speech features such as pitch and duration. The voice model adds the unique characteristics of the speaker. Finally, signal processing refines the synthesized speech to produce a clear output

The result is a computer-generated voice that follows a natural and intelligible pattern, and advances in neural networks contribute to more realistic and flexible speech synthesis.

What is a neural network, and how does it work?

Today, thanks to the unleashing of AI, we are seeing extraordinarily human-like and versatile synthetic speech for various applications. 

A neural network model is needed to achieve a distinct human voice. These models replicate the voice by being trained on a large dataset of speech recordings. This allows them to learn the nuances of human speech and produce human-like voices. These deep learning techniques, such as recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have given TTS the power to transform the customer service of any brand. 

It is even more accessible today. APIs provided by different companies make it easy for developers to integrate text-to-speech into their applications and services. Voice cloning is more common.

The most common text-to-speech applications

Although text-to-speech conversion is a complicated technology, we use it often, and it helps people with pretty mundane things. Are you wondering when you use text-to-speech conversion? While this may vary depending on context, industry, or user needs, the use cases we selected stand out because of their widespread adoption and impact:

  • Helping reading: TTS reads for people who have difficulty reading, making books and websites easier to understand.

  • Talking assistant: Helps phones or speakers talk to you, like a friendly assistant answering your questions.

  • Giving directions: This technology guides you as you drive or walk, converting written directions into spoken ones.

  • Telephone help: TTS gives you recorded voice instructions when you call the company, making phone systems helpful.

  • Gameplay: Makes characters speak in games, making them more exciting and interactive.

  • Creating programs and movies: TTS gives voice to characters in animations or movies, like a robot reading a script.

  • Keeping you informed: TTS informs you of important things, such as weather updates or reminders, so you can't miss them.

I bet you never guessed how often you use and need speech converted to audio. These use cases combine practical usage, common takeup, and the potential to improve user comfort. 

The benefits of text-to-speech in customer service

Integrating text-to-speech technology helps streamline customer support. It offers improved availability, multilingual support, continuous availability, cost optimization, and increased customer satisfaction.

TTS easily switches between languages, enabling customer service platforms to serve a diverse customer base without needing multiple pre-recorded voice prompts. This solution is extremely usable for customers who expect to communicate in their native language.

Automated TTS systems provide continuous availability, allowing customers to access information or assistance anytime. This is especially beneficial for global companies operating in different time zones.

TTS ensures consistent and standardized delivery of information. This helps maintain a unified brand voice and ensures that customers receive the same level of service and information across every touch point.

Implementing TTS in customer service leads to cost savings by automating routine and repetitive tasks. Companies can handle more customer inquiries without hiring additional staff.

TTS can automatically respond to common inquiries, reducing the time customers have to wait for assistance. 

TTS plays an important role during self-service interactions. It improves the quality of IVR systems, providing more natural and human interactions and resulting in a positive customer experience.

TTS systems are scalable and able to handle a large number of interactions simultaneously, which is especially important for companies experiencing fluctuations in customer inquiries or several calls.

TTS systems can be trained to understand and accurately pronounce industry terms. Professional nomenclature can strengthen trust in sectors such as healthcare or finance.

TTS can use customer data to create personalized messages, increasing the sense of personalized service. This personal touch contributes to engagement and loyalty.

The customer is king. This means that special treatment is required when dealing with clients. This can be overwhelming, but TTS voice calls can meet the personalized needs of customers without compromising quality service. 

Potential trends in text-to-speech

Ongoing advances in neural TTS models aim to improve the naturalness and realism of synthesized speech. 

The integration of TTS with other modalities, such as images and video, is likely to provide a more immersive user experience in applications such as virtual assistants and games. 

Another perspective is enabling synthesized voices to convey a wider range of emotions for more engaging interactions. Customization and personalization will become more common and let users tailor synthesized voices to their needs. 

In addition, the concept of learning from scratch in TTS models will likely simplify adaptation to new voices or languages. The growth of edge computing will force optimized deployment of TTS on local devices, reducing response times and improving privacy. 

Advances in voice cloning and support for ambiguous text are also anticipated, as well as increased integration of TTS in education. 

As TTS technology develops, ethical considerations will come to the fore. These will prompt the formulation of regulations governing the use of deepfake technology and voice manipulation. 

These trends point to a trajectory toward more sophisticated, customizable, and context-aware TTS systems in a variety of applications and industries.

How to integrate text-to-speech into your existing communication system

If you're looking to add TTS to your communication system, start by figuring out why you want it—whether it's for automated messages or easier understanding. TTS can be used in various aspects of your business. Some areas are customer support calls, automated notification, IVR, e-learning, and more. It is crucial to pinpoint the specific need. This will significantly influence your choice of a service provider.

Your brand is unique. Finding a provider that perfectly suits your preference is an arduous task. Choose a TTS service that fits your needs, considering factors like language support and cost, customization, naturalness and seamless file transfer.

Sign up, get the necessary access keys, and follow the service's instructions to connect it to your system. Obtain an API address. TTS APIs leverage artificial intelligence to provide natural audio while it converts written text into spoken words. You can sign up for an API address with the chosen TTS provider. Get the credentials, and set up the environment where the integration will take place. This requires the tools, libraries, and framework tso don’t forget to get familiar with the API documentation.

Make sure that the TTS service supports the languages you need and allows you to choose the voices. Decide when you want TTS to speak, such as for greetings or important messages. Remember that all the "wow," "huh," quiet laughter, and sound effects (splash of water, explosion of a bomb) are like icing on the cake, creating a truly human vocabulary. A good TTS provider should create a place for this, supporting you with a library of these effects. Ensure your system knows what to do with TTS-generated spoken words, whether it's a phone or chat system.

Test everything to make sure it works smoothly, and keep an eye on performance. Listen to user feedback and use it to improve your TTS system, making it even more helpful for your audience. Integrate into your communication system for playback. Be sure to do this thoroughly. If the synthesized speech meets your expectations, great! If not, make the necessary adjustments. Congratulations on completing these steps!

Please note that slight variations might vary depending on your TTS service provider.

It is expected to worry about the success of this integration. You can tackle this by providing mechanisms to encourage feedback from users. This will help you improve over time.

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Who could have guessed that customer support would be so much fun? 

Text-to-speech can notify customers of appointments, delivery, or payments. These services can be automated without losing their personalized touch. 

Text-to-speech undoubtedly has benefits to take your customer service game to another level. The evolution of this smart technology shows that it has many more surprises for us in the future.

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