What Is Text-To-Speech (TTS) Technology and How It Works

Text-To-Speech (TTS) software reads digital text aloud, turning script into voice. It is great for people who want to record audio but do not want to use their own voice. Neural-network AI voices are so good now that they can sound better than people who are not native speakers in the target language, or even native speakers with a strong accent. Text-to-speech is also useful for people who need to record a voice-over but do not have professional audio equipment or a sound-proof environment.

In addition, text-to-speech is often used by people with reading disabilities and visual impairments as an assistive technology. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) has noted that text-to-speech technology “can provide tremendous, often life-changing, advantages for people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.”


How it works

Text-to-speech (TTS) technology converts written text into speech. A TTS engine converts text to audio and plays the audio back through speakers. TTS technology was originally developed to help computers read back documents. Nowadays, TTS engines can produce natural Text-To-Speech voices, and can recognize words, phrases, and sentences.

Basically, text-to-speech technology converts the written word into the spoken word. It can be used on scripts written for the purpose of narrating a video, turning a book into an audio book, or as an assistive technology combined with optical character recognition (OCR). OCR is a computer process that recognizes and translates images of text.)

The principle behind TTS is simple: speech is the basic language of communication, and so if you can translate text into speech, you can make computers speak. It's like having your own personal narrator!

Who can benefit from text-to-speech technology?

Text-to-speech can be a great time saver for anyone looking to record audio voice narration. Unless you are a professional voice artist, it will likely take you several attempts to record any slightly longer voice-over without mistakes. Unless you have a sound-proof room and professional audio recording equipment, the quality of the recording and the background sounds may vary throughout a longer piece of audio, making it sound inconsistent. With computer-generated audio, you can get a perfect voice quickly, and the results will always be consistent, without background noise.

Text to speech tools can also be great as an assistive technology for people with learning disabilities, and have great potential for use in education, the workplace, and everyday life:

  • TTS for the blind or visually impaired
  • TTS for dyslexia
  • TTS for kids
  • TTS for training videos
  • TTS for remote education
  • TTS for video tutorials/demos

No more language frustration

People learning another language, and students with literacy issues, often have trouble reading complex text. Combining hearing and reading allows students to understand information much easier. But teachers rarely have the time or equipment to prepare audio content to accompany their lessons.

TTS software lets you convert text content into audio files, so it's easier for your students to „feel the content” and understand it. In addition, when you create speech from text, it’s also easy to generate closed captions or subtitles for lectures. This is important for visually impaired students, and for those trying to consume your content in a noisy environment.

Narakeet is an assistive technology for all users

Narakeet is a speech synthesis service that allows you to create narration in 90 languages with text-to-speech for video voice over. Narakeet makes it easy to turn Word documents into audio files, convert PowerPoint/Keynote presentations into videos and script videos using plain text (Markdown).

Narakeet integrates with several voice synthesis services including Amazon Polly, Google Cloud Text-To-Speech, Yandex Text-To-Speech, Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services and IBM Watson Text to Speech. You can add a narration layer to your videos without the need for a studio setup, video editing skills or expensive equipment.

Cover photo by wayhomestudio on freepik

Narakeet helps you create text to speech voiceovers, turn Powerpoint presentations and Markdown scripts into engaging videos. It is under active development, so things change frequently. Keep up to date: RSS, Slack, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok