Text-to-speech software is a program intended to help individuals who are visually impaired or simply experience difficulty reading enjoy literature. This tool is free and intuitive, allowing its user to digital materials into instant audio files compatible with media players of different computers, tablets, and smartphones.
But if you are an author who plans to publish audiobooks, you should steer clear of using text-to-speech software. This notion is true whether you plan to work on new material or convert your existing e-books into new commodities you can sell for higher prices. Gleaning from audiobook publishers, here are the limitations of text-to-speech software:
The Voice Sounds Like a Robot
The sound that a text-to-speech program uses to turn written content into spoken words is computer-generated. Although modern technology can improve the voices utilized in such software, it still lacks tone and emotion. Text-to-speech programs treat all sentences the same and do not use context. Real audiobooks are not supposed to be monotonous, even if they belong to the non-fiction category.
Voice actors work hard to spot the nuances in passages and speak words in different vocal tones and pitches that come as natural to the ears. These professional talents are performers and storytellers who narrate text in a way that the listeners can genuinely feel the message. More importantly, professional voice actors sound great. They capture the attention because they speak with a resonance that is charismatic even when they evoke anger, fear, sadness, and other negative feelings.
The Words Are Sometimes Mispronounced
Text-to-speech software gets better over time, but its output is not always flawless. Sometimes, it mispronounces words for many reasons. A program does it when it does not recognize the word at all, struggles to deal with punctuations, and can’t produce dialogues in context. For instance, this software might not be able to tell whether the character speaking should have an accent because of the person’s background.
Unlike computers, voice actors produce sound output. They are not necessarily perfect, but they take time to eliminate mistakes and come up with the best versions of the spoken passages. Voice talents can function as collaborators, especially when the written text does not sound well in speech. They can work with you to tweak certain lines and make them better when read out loud so that they can resonate with the listeners.
The Pace Is Not Spot On
One of the disadvantages of text-to-speech programs is that they do not always recognize symbols such as bullets. Computer-generated recordings can come with pauses that do not make sense. Voice actors are actors. They read lines and read between the lines to harness the power of subtext, adding more weight to words, phrases, and sentences when necessary for dramatic effect.
Text-to-speech software is not smart enough to analyze such a complex thought process. It is a crime not to use a voice actor to narrate your material or bring your story to life. Working with professionals matters since amateur talents can sound just as bad as robots.