Chatbot text to speech software:an introduction
A chatbot text to speech tool (the expression: “text to speech” is often abbreviated into the acronym TTS) is anything else than software that converts a textual chat into audio with the use of technologies like optical character recognition, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence.
The difference with voice bots is that chatbot text to speech tools are downloaded, configured, and utilized by clients: in other words, they are client-side applications. However, some chatbot services, like Ideta software, have text to speech software already integrated. In this way, no extra setup is necessary.
Why use a chatbot text to speech tool?
The benefits of utilizing a chatbot TTS are multiple, like for any kind of assistive technology. I am going to list the most common purposes by which users download this kind of software here below:
- People with literacy issues can find listening to a chatbot conversation much more comfortable than reading a text chat
- Users that speak a foreign language can benefit from the machine translator that is usually incorporated in this kind of software
- Users with visual impairments can finally interact with your bot and enjoy conversing with it
- Listening to a bot can be more comfortable than reading a textual chat if users access your content through mobile or in other environmental contexts where reading is difficult for some reason.
A promising application for TTS tools is primary education. Reading can be an issue for many children that attend their first year of school. This technology can help them to decode and understand letters and printed words.
Eventually, a specific field of application for chatbot text to speech tools can be the Dyslexia treatment, as TTS software offers significant support with reading and digesting text on the computer screen.
How does TTS work?
The TTS software works with almost any kind of personal device, from the traditional personal computers with their big screens to the tiniest mobiles.
The reading voice is computer generated. It can sound human or non-human, male or female. Most tools allow users to choose and set up the type of voice of their TTS apps, and the increasing utilization of natural language processing has made bot voices sound more and more humans.
For example, if you are a parent that needs to set up a chatbot text to speech tool for your children, you could select a child’s voice, or even register and use your own parental voice.
Some TTS tools have optical character recognition technology (OCR) that can read the textual strings that are incorporated into an image. This specific feature allows the software to read a street sign.
The speed of the reading voice can be sped up or slowed down. This last feature is particularly interesting, as it allows to slow down a conversation to enjoy a better user experience, for example when the user can hardly understand the pronunciation.
The common functionalities of text to speech tools
Chatbot text to speech apps can have further functionalities. Let’s have a quick look at the most common ones.
- Multi-language options: the user can select a language among a list of different nations and voices. This feature could be particularly helpful for students of foreign languages.
- Multichannel and multiplatform deployments: the chatbot text to speech software can be installed on several environments and data set. This feature is particularly helpful when we wish to integrate a TTS service with other bots.
- Multiformat: the software can scan and tell texts on multiple file-formats of documents, from Words to Pdf.
- Text-underlining: the bot underlines the text as it speaks. This feature is particularly recommended for anyone who needs to learn to read.
These functionalities complete the user experience and make chatbot text to speech tools richer and more comfortable for users.
Common concerns about chatbot text to speech tools
Nothing comes without issues in this world. Even a useful instrument like a chatbot text to speech app has its dark side.
According to Statista, users’ main concerns regard privacy and the security of personal information and data. A common fear is that the software could register the conversation and store it somewhere.
These concerns are common to any digital assistant and can be easily solved through the correct application of the privacy law.
However, according to the law, bots may listen to chats and profile users on the condition that it happens anonymously. In conclusion, these privacy concerns are partially founded.
A problem that is hard to solve is the lack of naturality of bot voices. Today, the experience with a chatbot text to speech app is hardly similar to the one with a human speaker, despite the many efforts and advancements in the last few years.
Other issues can be subtler and regard the design of the app itself. If you wish to know more, please read this article on the technological pitfalls of vocal interfaces.
Some TTS interesting numbers and statistics
The global text to speech market was valued at 2.0 billions USD in 2020 with a growth estimation to billion 5.6, which means a growth rate of 14,6%. These numbers give an idea of the increasing importance of this industry.
Its most important growth drivers are the raise of education and services for disabled people in the world. Other factors that contribute to boosting the TTS industry are connected to technological improvements that make the artificial voice sound more and moral similar to the natural human voice, and the users’ preference for handheld devices.
In conclusion, the chatbot texts to speech market segment should not be neglected, as it has the full potential to create great value for chatbot users. This is one of the reasons that have pushed Ideta to add this feature to its bots.