Artificial voices in narration have become popular nowadays, especially among children. The concept is based on Text to speech (TTS) or “read aloud” technology. It is an assistive technology that converts written texts into audio formats that you can download and listen to.
Some people are skeptical about using TTS technology for creating audiobooks. They feel that synthetic narration may take away the joy of listening to real humans imbue emotions into the passages they read.
However, with technological advancement, synthetic voices have become more natural-sounding and human-like. Besides, the technology also offers several advantages in cost, speed, and recording quality.
To understand TTS better, let’s look at some of the differences between audiobooks and text-to-speech publications. You can then find ways to leverage the technology to your benefit.
An audiobook is an audio recording of a person reading a book aloud. The reader is often the author themselves, a professional voice-over artist, or a famous public figure.
On the other hand, text-to-speech is a technology that reads aloud digital texts. It could be books, news articles, magazine articles, or websites.
Type of Recording
Audiobooks are read aloud by real persons. Hence, you will spot changes in tone and emotion to match the feel of the narration. You will also find natural pauses in between readings.
TTS, on the other hand, uses a computer-generated artificial voice. Depending on the text to audio generator you use, you can choose the accent and gender of the narrator.
Ai voice nowadays sound more natural than before. Still, there are chances of mispronunciation and inaccurate pauses.
Audiobooks are typically digital files. They can be formatted into mp3 and played on computers or smartphones.
Unlike audiobooks, TTS are software programs. Many electronic devices come with built-in TTS applications. A variety of free text to speech programs can also be downloaded from major operating platforms.
Level of Interaction
There is also a vast difference in how audiobooks and TTS publications are used.
People generally have a passive approach to audiobooks. They mostly listen to audiobooks without having a printed copy of the book to follow along as the narration goes. Some even listen to audiobooks while performing other activities such as cooking, cleaning, or travelling.
In comparison to audiobooks, TSS gives readers a more interactive experience. For example, you can follow the visual text on your screen as you listen to the narration. You can even have the words highlighted, a feature not available on most audiobooks.
The app also allows you to jump to different parts of the books by entering keywords, chapters, or page numbers.
Audiobooks are recordings of a single book. You can purchase narration of different books individually or access the entire library through a subscription.
In contrast, TTS software, once purchased, can be used for any number of digital texts. On installation, you can use it to read aloud books, magazines, emails, or any other publications. Most Android and iOS devices also have a free text to speech feature.
Compared to audiobooks, text to audio generators are more interactive and cost-effective. Still, many prefer traditional audiobooks for the human touch they give to the narration.
However, TTS publications are bound to improve further in the future and become as enjoyable to readers as traditional audiobooks.