synthetic speech

7 years ago, in October of 2009, I wrote a series of articles about the challenge presented to our business by artificial voices.

See:

Most agree that the digital revolution is creating more opportunities for voice-actors, but we’d rather not see those new jobs go to digital voices.

Amazon was the first to mainstream this concept with the reading of text on Kindle in digital voice.  Certainly many IVR and corporate phone menu systems now use this technology, and some of it has gotten pretty darned realistic.

In a 2011 blog titled “Speak Text for Me“, I wrote why VO’s should care about these developments:

#1.  Growing acceptance of synthetic voices may cut into our services.  These new innovative software products often feature outright computer-simulated human voices, replacing the need for a real human voice.  Critics claim listening to these artificially-created voices becomes monotonous and tedious.  Others listeners like it for it’s neutrality.

#2  Growing acceptance of synthetic voices may create more VO opportunities.  Example: Siri…the artificial intelligence app in the iPhones.  In every country where this app is sold, a voice-actor was contracted to speak the thousands of responses.

#3  These programs can aid in quick pronunciation help.  Sometimes in audiobook work, actors spend valuable narration time doing research for foreign or difficult technical pronunciations.  A program like Speak Text For Me can be invaluable as a resource in this task.

I say this issue is back because of an announcement by Adobe just yesterday at the MAX conference in San Diego.  Apparently new software, under the  name Project VoCo ” “… is designed to be a state-of-the-art audio editing application. Beyond your standard speech editing and noise cancellation features, Project VoCo can also apparently generate new words using a speaker’s recorded voice…”  (–the Verge)

This has all sorts of applications; hence why such a software powerhouse like Adobe is tackling it.  This might save re-do’s when one word is out of whack…which could mean lost revenue, or the end of pesky re-do’s that take up valuable auditioning time.

Read what the analysts are saying about this step in:

TNW: Adobe’s upcoming audio tool lets you synthesize speech in anyone’s voice

The Verge: Adobe is workong on an audio app that lets you add words someone never said

Have a great weekend!

CourVO

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