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How Does Text to Speech Work? Part 2 in our TTS Series

Text to Speech engines utilize a two-part method for conversion. The first part, called ‘text normalization’, analyzes the raw text. It then converts it into phonetic transcriptions through a process called ‘text-to-phoneme’ or ‘grapheme-to-phoneme’. The second part of the process occurs when the synthesizer converts these phonemes into sound.

How Is Text to Speech Used?

In the following piece, we will get into some of the ways your brand can use TTS but first, let’s take a look at some of the best applications for text to speech and some of the drawbacks that TTS has yet to overcome.

Best Applications for Text to Speech

There are dozens of scenarios where the use of TTS can be beneficial. Here are some of the most notable applications for text to speech:

Online Learning

Text to speech is becoming more and more popular in the field of early education. TTS allows children to look away from digital screens and reduces the strain on their young eyes. It can also help students who struggle with reading disabilities such as dyslexia. And studies have shown that TTS allows students to focus on the actual content of their lessons instead of the act of reading.

Companies and organizations can also utilize text to speech to conduct training sessions in person or online. Providing options for text to speech increases accessibility for employees and allows everyone to participate in the most productive ways for them.

Automotive Industry

TTS is being implemented by car manufacturers more and more. 

With the personalized touch of TTS, motorists can hear text messages, receive navigation instructions, ask their infotainment system to find the nearest gas station, and more without having to glance at their phones or any other screens. 

Text to speech offers drivers and passengers a safer, more comfortable experience on the road, and that is why automotive manufacturers are continuing to implement TTS technology in their vehicles.

Medicine

Many companies, including Microsoft, have begun to develop TTS software for the field of medicine. TTS is helping increase the efficiency with which medical professionals can complete their work and also making it easier for doctors to communicate with their patients.

With the applications of TTS, the medical community can generate summaries of patient charts, communicate the status of lab experiments, and even increase access to medical literature.

The Downsides of Text to Speech

While there are dozens of advantages to TTS, that doesn’t mean the technology has been perfected. Here are a few of the shortcomings of text to speech:

  • Hiring a voice actor gives you professional audio, but it is impossible to record all the possible sound combinations with different emotions and stresses. This can lead to some unnatural, emotionless speech.
  • Building a database of TTS sounds can be time-consuming. Also, storing and processing the audio requires significant processing power.
  • Pronunciation analysis is nuanced, and creating a technology that can accurately interpret speech continues to be a major challenge for software and audio engineers.

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