Text-to-speech: Listening instead of reading

18.07.2019

Text-to-Speech

Text-to-speech (TTS) – this term is virtually self-explanatory: It is the conversion of text into spoken. The programs used are being continually further developed words. Although there are still no applications today in which the machine origin of the spoken word is not discernible, the technological progress is unstoppable. What are the advantages of text-to-speech systems? Vision impaired people can benefit from those systems, besides they can also be used by companies as a means of expanding their outreach.

Text-to-Speech – Advantages for the disabled

Text-to-speech is a significant aspect of accessibility. Three groups of people profit most from TTS:

  • Millions of adults worldwide suffer from visual impairments. Text-to-speech is ideally suited to providing them with access to the written word. People whose sight is impaired must invest a lot of time and effort to make out a text. TTS systems are of great assistance.
  • Approximately 7.5 million adults are illiterate or have difficulties with reading. And these numbers apply just to Germany. Sensitivity for illiteracy has only evolved in the past few years. Obviously, learning the alphabet and words will help those concerned in the long run. But TTS systems have achieved amazing results especially during the learning process.
  • A similar problem – although not the same – is dyslexia. Speech based learning disabilities are widespread. Dyslexia affects approximately 10 to 20 percent of the population worldwide. The reverse method (Speech-to-text) is especially suited for the dyslexic.

Whether visual impairment, lack of knowledge or learning disabilities: Text-to-speech systems offer efficient and economical solutions for all three problem areas mentioned above. The TTS programs are available for desktop as well as mobile devices.

Greater reach for online offers

Companies also profit from TTS. The reach of an online offer is not only defined by the quality of the content and the Google ranking. To reach more users with your offer, the conditions for access of these content have to be simplified. Many people are either unable to read texts or are hindered for other reasons. TTS speaks directly to these people.

Many Internet users (especially in the area of mobiles) are fundamentally skeptical with regard to texts and rely on audio-visual content. Text-to-speech offers solutions for this target group in particular. TTS technology plays an important part in the optimization of websites for screen readers or in the programming of virtual assistants.

Developers of virtual assistants, chat bots and other speech recognition systems need a lot of high-quality voice recordings of different people in order to train a system. clickworker creates and delivers this training data quickly, affordable and according to your needs.

TTS and translations

TTS has also proved useful in combination with translation programs. Non-native speakers can more easily find their way around in foreign countries. TTS makes understanding important information in text form possible – quickly and easily. For instance, in practice:

  1. A sign might contain important information in a foreign language.
  2. The user can hold his smartphone so that the camera is directed at the sign and activate the TTS app, which works together with a translation program.
  3. The information will be read to the user in his native language.

In addition to providing quick assistance, TTS systems also have a learning effect. They help people master a new language in a foreign country more quickly. Learning by doing is an excellent way of storing information in our memory.

Haven’t got time to read?

High workloads and deadlines are a great challenge for independent worker and employees. Technical innovations, such as TTS systems, can bring relief. Text-to-speech systems are ideal for multitasking. If you are busy with an important assignment on your monitor screen, you can have your incoming emails read to you. This ensures that you will not miss anything of importance, and saves the time needed to check the emails in written form. The same applies to the time spent in the car or on your bike. TTS reads all incoming emails or urgent business documents – at the same time the driver can concentrate on the traffic.

Summary

Text-to-speech can reduce barriers in many sectors. In doing so, technical progress simplifies daily life as well as the organization of your workday and promotes equal opportunities on the labor market. It also provides companies with new ways of better addressing potential customers – in the true sense of the (spoken) word.

 




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