Getting your video production multicultural and extending your marketing capabilities to reach global audiences – is actually more accessible today that ever before!
While applying Artificial Intelligence might overawe you at first, not all of its applications are intimidating. Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Voice-Cloning are two of such amazing advancements in AI.
Cut to chase, NLP is the latest innovation in voice-over technology that video advertisers and content creators are using to convert texts and voice recordings into hundreds of varieties of voices, accents, and parlances capable of attending to hundreds of multicultural audiences.
The best part is, all of this comes with lesser effort, increasingly affordable costs, and splendid production quality.
Is using Natural Language Processing technology could be the next video marketing trend in 2021? Does it really sound good enough? Could you actually save time and money on hiring traditional voice-over artists on your next video production?
We will answer all these questions in-depth and see how this facility is going to be the next inevitable part of the video industry. We will also discuss some of the best performing voice-over tools and APIs available today.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?
NLP is a branch of Artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers to understand and respond effectively to human-synthesized speeches and texts. In other words, it’s a machine version of interpreting and manipulating human language.
A chatbot is a classic example to demonstrate the value that NLP is adding to our lives and businesses. It receives, interprets, and manipulates human texts and speeches, and responds to them intelligently in real-time. Already, millions of businesses are using Facebook Messenger’s chatbot to connect to their customers through social media. Mastercard’s Virtual Assistant is an even more advanced application of NLP.
Video makers can also utilize NLP to close the gap between their video content and hundreds of diverse cultures across the world that speak different languages. Simply feed in the text or voice-recordings and get the speech-synthesis of your choice, highly adjustable and easy to manage! Already, thousands of videos that you see on YouTube are using the same formula.
The Difference Between Simple TTS & AI Voice (Natural Language Processing)
Broadly speaking, both simple Text-to-Speech (TTS) and AI-Voice fall under the domain of AI applications. But the Gaming & Video industry professionals differentiate between these two terminologies as:
TTS is a simple recognition technique that converts text to speeches using classic AI. It doesn’t involve the modern concepts of NLP and has been there for a while now. It reproduces your texts in some predefined voices and accents.
On the flip side, AI-Voice is referred to as a computer-synthesized voice that intelligently interacts with humans in real-time e.g. Chatbots. It’s about understanding and then responding to human language as if a human would do. Amazon Alexa is another example of AI-Voice i.e. it takes verbal commands and controls smart-homes accordingly.
You might be interested in AI-Voice Cloning as well. It’s an artificial simulation of a person’s voice that you can use anywhere against any text or speech.
Speech Recognition – Speech to Text
Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) or Speech-to-Text tools/APIs are computer programs that use pattern recognition algorithms based on linguistics to sort auditory signals and transform the received information into words and sentences. They allow you to convert your speeches to text in no time. You can create subtitles and transcriptions easily with a click of a button.
We will cover some state of the art ASR tools and APIs pertinent to video makers. They provide editable, verbatim transcripts with as much as 99% of accuracy.
Multi-Language Advertising – 200+ Voices & 55 Different Languages!
One of the key factors that make your content ace every corner of the world is Language Localization.
You need to provide speeches and transcriptions in local languages. Ever noticed why people tend to go after famous brands? Apart from the fact that these brands can effectively reach them using their own language, what matters the most is the realization in people that these brands truly care for them.
Generalized or All-English videos don’t appeal to every population of the world. That’s why modern tools offer more than 200 voices & accents in 50+ languages to fulfill the requirements of localization.
Popular video streaming platforms like YouTube and Facebook allow you to automatically launch ads (videos) to specific speech and language areas within multiple counties, cultures, and regions.
In short, this is Language Localization that makes your content make a bang. On the other hand, viewers don’t often bother about the videos not presented in their local languages. Take the case of India, 95% of online videos in India are viewed in local languages and dialects.
Even in small populations like Switzerland, you have to keep in mind four different language audiences if you want to make an impact – French, Italian, Rumantsch, and German.
However, the approaches to voice selection and customization depend on local tastes and the following factors:
- Type of information you want to convey.
- Your target audience. Is it young? Eccentric? …
- The speed of your video.
- The peculiar sound of your brand.
AI Voice Cloning – Build A Custom Voice for Your Brand.
A custom brand voice is a gateway to your brands’ success. It allows you to build a strong relationship with your customers so that you can skip intimidating jargon and trivial sales talk, and get straight to engaging with them.
But you don’t need to permanently hire a sweet-talk person for this particular job. Just pick your voice, arrange a maximum of one hour of recording and that’s it. Now you can reproduce this voice in real-time, quite fast against whatever texts or recordings you have. You can also personalize the resulting speeches further using different features offered by cloning tools.
Speech Synthesis Tools & API’s
Have a look at the following top-performing TTS and Voice-Cloning tools. They all stand unique to one another in their respective qualities.
This advanced AI-voicing tool originally developed to help game developers make more expressive characters for their games.
You need to feed it with written scripts and it will synthesize speech in return. It offers easy to use filters to control the emotional influence of your voice. You can also fine-tune voice pacing and intonation. So far, there are more than 30 varieties of voices that you will be able to use by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
As far as pricing is concerned, it’s fairly affordable. The basic plan costs 20$ for which you get 4 hours of speech recognition which is awesome.
The only con is its games-centered approach. Though videos require less voice customization, you might miss on highly empathetic and emotionally adapting voices. Nevertheless, you can try its free trial first to reckon if it suits your brand or not.
Then, there is Resemble.ai – a voice-cloning software.
With its high accuracy and easy interface, you can effectively replicate your brand’s voice against any text in countless videos. Simply record the voice or feed text and it will be reproduced in “your” voice in real-time.
Resemble.ai is available in many foreign languages. Members get full access to its contents without any on-computer training and hardware resources. Its customizability is also reasonably flexible. Its basic package costs $30.
However, the downside is, it clones only one voice per member. That means if your least requirement is to have two voices i..e. one each for both male and female versions, you have to spend extra money.
Kukarella is a web-based TTS tool that is famous for its speedy real-time speech synthesis. This is probably the largest online library of 270+ realistic voices and accents from more than 50 languages and cultures.
Kukarella’s most versatile standing is its affordable yet variegated TTS services for everyone. That is, at affordable rates, you get the level of speech synthesis quality that most big corporations are using at the moment.
For only $5, you get one hour of voice-over in nearly all languages and voices offered by famous TTS and AI voicing APIs like Google Wavenet, Amazon Polly, and IMB Watson, etc. However, complete access to its personalization features is a bit costlier.
Otter.ai enables you to record and automatically transcribe conversations. You can also feed it with audios and videos (whose audio will be extracted only) to be transcribed.
If you have to process large files and you don’t need productions in vast variety of accents and languages, this is the best recommendation. Of course, it has good performance with a low waiting time. What makes it user friendly is that you can easily edit and manage transcriptions directly in-app. On top of this, it can effectively recognize and differentiate between different voices.
Its premium subscription costs $8.33 per user per month if you pay annually. You’ll get up to 6000 minutes of the audio recording along with a selection of more advanced features. However, it doesn’t support too many languages and accents.
It’s another TTS tool that covers a broad range of languages. Though it’s occasionally free, you have to get a license if you want to use its production commercially. There is a feature of proofreading as well which can pick a mangled sentence or correct a misspelled word.
The best part is, it’s diverse enough to include several languages and accents. The languages available are English (US and UK), Spanish (Spain, Mexico, and USA), French (France and Canada), Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), German, Italian and Swedish.
For commercial use, you will require a commercial license with a $49 monthly subscription. You also get a daily trial period of 20 minutes of TTS in all premium voices.
As far as its performance is concerned, it’s truly consummate. However, there are some areas where it lacks competence i.e. calling names, some jargon, the pronunciation of Latin, and historical texts.
The last tool on our list is Lovo.ai. It’s another top-notch DIY Online TTS platform with more than 150 voice skins in 33 languages to choose from. These accents precisely carry human emotions in every voice, breathing soul into your content.
What’s more? Its voice-cloning requires just 10 minutes of a target voice to create your customized voice skin. That said, new voices are being stacked up each month.
However, it’s important to understand that its production is not legal to use on certain platforms.
TTS API-driven cloud service
A shorthand for Application Programming Interface, an API is a bridge software that allows businesses to benefit from the services of a computer software operating on another computer.
A voice-over API is a particularly more friendly option if you have short term projects. They are mostly pay-per-use. However, the biggest benefit of APIs for video makers is their highly non-robotic voices. Plus, APIs provide support for most of the available languages and voices while delivering the best possible quality. Moreover, production improvements are also readily available to all end-users without any requirements for hardware improvement.
Let’s have a look at the most impressive voice-over API’s being provided by tech giants.
The first API on the list is Amazon Polly. It’s a cloud-based TTS service with support for multiple languages and accents. It offers a vast variety of sounds that you can integrate with your video visuals for multiple contexts, locations, and cultures.
Actually, there are two different APIs i.e. Polly does TTS conversions while Transcribe converts speeches to text. Both are pretty affordable for video makers as users can cache and replay its speech production without any additional cost.
What gives Amazon Polly the supreme edge among its competitors is its life-like simulations without any instructional programming. That is,
If you feed it with plain text, the punctuations, spaces, and other grammatical settings are enough to work as cues for realistic pauses, breaks, and emphasis. Even for texts without punctuation, Polly’s AI algorithms deliver a sound conversational speech.
What’s more? You also get real-time audio streaming which is exceptionally handy for live streaming sessions on Instagram, YouTube, etc.
There are several Neural Text-to-Speech (NTTS) voices as well.
AWS Neutral Voice
Three British English voices and eight US English voices are available in its Neural TTS library. The pinnacle of these voices is their accuracy, and a broad-gauge coverage for extra-linguistic items like abbreviations, date/time interpretations, and acronyms, etc.
To use it, simply type your sentences in the input box, pick your voice, select the voice pacing and other customization options, and that’s it. You have your files.
Lastly, for some trivial drawbacks, its terminology is sometimes weird as compared to other APIs. Also, though it offers significant granular control over spaces, punctuation, and speed, it would be better if they add some more SSML options to allow users to switch character/voice switching.
Google Wavenet empowers video makers to perform top-notch TTS production that significantly closes the gap between machine and human versions of sound.
There are 120+voices available in several languages and dialects that you can use to make your videos speak effectively to hundreds of cultures and demographics around the world. That said, it offers efficient speed adjustment and 20+ semitones to pitch up voices according to your taste. Its SSML tags also pass enough control to your hands. You can easily optimize your speeches by giving simple pronunciation instructions about adding pauses, numbers, date and time formatting, etc.
For an exclusive upside, its phone-voice version is the best amongst the available options. Then, it’s one of the most accurate TTS APIs out there as it is capable enough to decide on its own what pattern-recognizing algorithm suits where i.e. depending on the voice type, hosting platform, and the kind of application, it uses different learning algorithms.
Its Speech-To-Text API also offers improved coverage for punctuations and pauses. Now, its run-time transcriptions are being used worldwide with very few and minor errors thanks to its ultra-modern noise-reduction technology.
However, when explaining particular things like a car license or a password, its voice becomes a bit plainer sometimes.
Microsoft’s easily manageable Neural TTS supports several speaking styles covered across 200+ voices and 50 languages and variants i.e. support for chat, newscast, and customer service, etc. Plus, it can also perform real-time transcriptions and TTS conversions.
The voices are famous for their emotionally ample and humanlike taste. The API is available in most parts of the world and compatible with most devices. The best part is, these services fall under the provisions of Microsoft Trust Services. That means you will get a guarantee for the security of your data’s safety and privacy.
The most helpful thing about MS TTS is its way of speaking with flavor-rich and euphoric expressions. It wisely understands where to emphasize and where not to, this is why you don’t need to customize its voices very often.
Then, its intelligent voice-recognition module allows for a quickly adapting production. Lastly, its custom vocabulary set is the most diverse among all the competitors.
This is another top-class TTS and AI-voice cloning API that allows you to synthesize natural-sounding speech in an easy-peasy way. With its powerful real-time speech synthesis, you can now increase content accessibility for users with the flexibility of use i.e. provide audio options to avoid distraction during driving, etc.
It’s also available in multiple languages and tones. You can use it for voice-cloning as well. With just one hour of recording, you can create a unique brand voice in the target language of your choice.
Its personalization scheme is also quite interesting. You can apply several different filters, reduce the noise your way, provide an emphasis score for every word while enjoying easy formatting options for speech-to-text conversions.
If we talk about documentation and reference manuals, IBM seems to have outpaced all the top players i.e. it’s extensive, easy to skim through, addressing a lot of queries, etc. That said, this is just a plug & play type of set up that takes only 2 minutes to start productions.
However, sometimes there are some weird expressions like “Boooooo” that are pronounced as “Booblublu” which is quite a minor defect.
Let’s see a brief example that takes away all the doubts in the quality and usability of computer-generated speeches.
The test-script is taken from a children’s book ‘The story of Oz’. The background music is The Royal Show
Listen to the generated voice. With the least amount of robotic touch, this voice is fully capable of engaging, emotionally appealing, and intelligently expressing any extra-linguistic expressions. The grand combination of music and speech delivers even better.
The voice is also an example of voice-cloning. The API is Amazon Polly and the name of the speaker is Matthew. You can also pick any open source script and test other tools and APIs for yourself; their voices, music combinations, etc.
Once you find the voice of your choice, it’s better to combine it with suitable background music. There is a vast music catalog offered here at Foximusic. You can explore music scores by style and genre and find your right combination. Then, to finalize your videos, follow these simple steps.
- Feed the text or voice script to the API or TTS tool.
- Get in return the transcription and speech synthesis.
- Synchronize the speech with the visuals and background music.
- Use the transcription as subtitles.
- Upload your video.
The real value you get here is amazingly breathtaking yet time-efficient video production. The whole process doesn’t take more than 5 minutes.
If you are a video advertiser, vlogger, teacher, podcaster or any other content creator, voice-over technology could take a huge burden off your shoulders.
Traditional voice-over services will soon become outdated. Already, they are very expensive and time-consuming. But, the latest innovation in voice-over saves you a lot of money and time on voiceover artists.
Both TTS and ARS tools/APIs provide solid voice-over support with supreme sound quality. The APIs are easy to integrate with your businesses. You don’t need system specifications and compatibility to access their services. Your budget, production needs, and level of programming expertise decide where to get the best bang for your buck.