A text-to-speech system, also known as TTS, is the artificial production of the human voice. It was first developed to aid the visually impaired users by converting the text on the screen to speech, hence the name text to speech.
Speech computer or speech synthesizer is the software designed for TTS services. These applications are usually designed for users who are fighting against physical disabilities such as reading disorders.
The quality of the speech synthesizer mainly depends on the human voice and its ability to understand clearly what the person wants.
The first-ever computer-based speech text to speech was originated in the 1950s. And the first English text-to-speech system was developed in 1968 in Japan.
Earlier computer speech synthesizers sounded impractical and robotic. But now with such advancement in recent technology, online text to speech has come into effect and has become very common and can be seen clearly in all smartphones and tablets these days which can be accessed and used by adults and even children of these days.
TTS applications come with very user-friendly interfaces which lets you see the text and hear the same text at the same time. There are many apps available to help you with reading and listening which have a number of additional features such as choice of gender of the recorded voice, choice of accent, the choice between a recorded human voice and a computer-generated voice.
Tablets and smartphones these days usually have built-in text-to-speech features that read any texts when pointed at on the screen.
Text-to-speech tools are used with the technology of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that scans the written text material from the computer and converts it into an audio speech.
There are also portable OCR devices available which are called reading pens. They can scan and read back text. Most digital devices include in-built apps that read books.
While text to speech is designed for universal purpose and use, it is user-friendly.
People with learning disabilities that have difficulty in reading texts due to dyslexia or other problems really benefit from TTS, helping them with reading and listening.
People who are trying to learn another language often get confused and paranoid while looking at the matter online. Many people have difficulty reading fluently in a second language as it may take them a while to read and understand clearly. TTS helps to understand the matter in an easy way.
TTS allows people to enjoy themselves. TTS is a blessing for people with visual impairment. For those who access content on mobile devices, reading a lot of content on a small screen is not always easy. TTS plays a big role in making reading fun and enjoyable on small screens. It allows people to get the information they want without the inconvenience of a lot of scrolling and straining eyes.
Apart from the visually disabled people, TTS is also a great option for YouTubers who don’t have a great voice but they want to put a voice over in the video that screenplay some voice overs. In that case, they can easily use a TTS tool and write down the text which they want to put as voiceover, and the tool will convert that into voice. Then they can add that voiceover to the video, and the video turns out to be awesome. Even if you are creating an animated or slide-based videos, and want to add a professional voiceover, TTS works great in that case as well. I have actually created a small video and used the TTS technology, and then added that voice over to the video, and that turned out to be great. Here is that video:
So, as you can see, there are many different usages of TTS technology. However, you would need a very professional TTS tool because not all tools offer various options for voices.
To put it in a nutshell, Text-to-Speech makes it easier in general for all people irrespective of their profession and literacy rate by providing knowledge in a simple and fun way.