For companies building out their eLearning curriculum, we can’t stress enough the importance of adding an audio component to materials. L&D professionals know that the inclusion of audio is an integral part of course design and delivery. Audio enables learners to more effectively absorb key points or entire sections by having them read aloud.
Audio acts as an enhancement for many learners, like those with dyslexia and visual impairments. It can also help others who have low levels of literacy or who are learning a second language. Even busy professionals or individuals who travel frequently may find it useful to have access to another version of content. After all, studies show that offering learners a bimodal form of delivery (for example, both audio and visual) helps with information recall, reading comprehension, memorization, and decoding skills.
Challenges with Human Voice Actors
So when the decision is made to integrate audio into your eLearning materials, where do you start? Traditionally, companies have hired professional voice talents to speech enable their content. Everything from cost to availability of the talent, accent, gender, and language must be considered and aligned. And, at the end of the day, the expense and time commitment involved in using a live voice talent may exceed what your company is comfortable with. This is especially common when you require multiple voices and languages.
Some companies take a different approach by utilizing in-house resources for their voiceover work, but this has downfalls too. Companies experience employee turnover and employees get sick. Getting sick puts them out of commission on days when a voice recording may be scheduled. Plus, not every company has the ability to provide translated materials to their multilingual workforce through a self-service approach.
Text to Speech is Simpler to Maintain and More Cost Effective
The smartest option for companies looking to minimize cost and maximize consistency, quality, and ease is text to speech (TTS). TTS voices allow you to feature a reliable voice across your eLearning material. With TTS voice, the process of voice creation will firmly be in your control. Edit your audio at any point without the extra expense of booking a studio and a voice actor. With recent developments in the field of speech synthesis, today’s TTS even allows for adjustments in pitch, stress, pace, and pauses in the audio, allowing for your human-like voice to truly emote and provide an engaging experience as your content is read aloud.
A recent study looked into why many instructional designers are opting for TTS rather than using a human voice talent. The reasons varied, but overall the consensus was that TTS is simpler to maintain and update. As one respondent who had used human voice talent in the past relayed, “We found that the added production time, and having to schedule around voice-over, plus re-doing entire segments for one small correction, (e.g. to get the sound to match), was prohibitive both cost- and time-wise.”
See How Text to Speech Compares to Voice Actors
Within eLearning settings, text to speech proves to be invaluable in a variety of ways, allowing you to:
1. Produce multilingual content for your diverse workforce
2. Integrate multiple voices at a fraction of the cost of hiring multiple voice actors
3. Develop scripts to inform the creation of final products recorded by human actors
4. Stream audio or integrate text to speech locally into mobile applications, installed software applications, or hardware devices so that anyone can digitally listen to your text content with a click of a ‘Listen’ button
ReadSpeaker Text to Speech
At ReadSpeaker, we have a passion for developing the most advanced, high-quality TTS voices. In fact, third-party industry observers rate ReadSpeaker TTS voices as being the most accurate on the market.
We use a multi-phase process to generate voices that are near-to-human in sound. Our voices are based on real recorded speech, which is then sampled and processed. A rich mark-up is created, in which each word, phoneme, and stress is annotated, using a powerful combination of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technologies. Our state-of-the-art methodologies are also augmented with expert linguistic capability.
In addition to offering top-of-the-line TTS, which includes over 50 languages and 200 voice options to serve the unique needs of our clients, ReadSpeaker:
- provides default and customer-specific pronunciation dictionaries
- allows for prosody adjustments and can read SSML
- has on-staff linguists with experience in speech synthesis and working with transcriptions to tweak the pronunciation and reading of spoken text in order to optimize the quality of the text to speech
Get in touch with us today to give a voice to your content.