The demand for audio media is booming, and voice over text is a critical factor to consider for those in the audio production space. However, the term ‘voice over text’ can mean different things to different people. For those with a specific goal in mind, it can be difficult to find the information they seek using this terminology. Let’s delve deep into what this term might mean and which situations it might be relevant to.
But if you prefer to watch a video instead, click here:
This post was updated in May 2021
What does ‘voice over text’ mean?
While there may be more interpretations of what this term means, there are four main possibilities that we are going to explore. These are:
- Converting text into speech
- Sample scripts and text for business and voice actors
- Writing text for the creation of an audio script
- Converting speech into text
Each of these possibilities presents a different outcome for the consumer, so it’s important to be aware of what your goal is when using the term ‘voice over text’.
Google search results reveal that the strongest association for the term ‘voice over text’ is the conversion of text into speech. This is both as straightforward and complicated as it sounds. Your starting product is text and your finished product is speech.
There are a plethora of platforms and businesses that offer this service. These range from free, synthesized voice overs to subscription-based platforms, right up to fee-for-hire services such as Bunny Studio. And as vast as the range of options for the conversion of text into voice are, the reasons why you might need this service are just as broad.
Some of the reasons include:
- Accessibility for the visually impaired
- Accessibility for those with reading impairments such as dyslexia
- Production of advertising material
- Audio support for video clips, video games, visual presentations
- Overcoming language barriers (where a person can understand but not read a language or vice-versa)
- Language learning
- Multi-tasking (wanting to ‘read’ a document while doing something else)
- Relaying the same information in multiple sensory modalities
- Voice preservation (being able to use one recording rather than repeated vocal outputs)
Techradar compiled a list of the top ten free text to speech (TTS) software. Their list focuses on the reading aloud of paragraphs or documents. The software they describe would be more targeted at personal or in-house use of this service rather than for the production of commercial material.
The ideal users of free services are those who only require sporadic or minimal TTS conversions. All speech output is created using a synthesized voice. The technology to mimic a human voice is continually improving, but there is a tendency for the final product to sound robotic and stiff. If this is what you are after or it doesn’t really matter, then great! If you’re after something with a little more choice and fine-tuning, a subscription service might be best.
Jumping up from the free TTS software, there are a number of platforms that offer tiered subscription services. An overview of these can be found in this report compiled by text2audio.
As with most things in life, the more you are prepared to pay, the greater accessibility and option of features you get. Some of these features include a greater selection of voices to choose from and the ability to manipulate volume and stress.
If you are planning on frequent or lengthy text to speech conversions, and require a greater degree of control over the final product, a paid subscription could be for you. This would particularly be the case for commercial ventures such as creating an advertisement or training videos.
Finally, we have fee-for-hire platforms. These include services such as Bunny Studio and others. Platforms such as these match clients to voice actors who record a pre-prepared script or text to the client’s specifications.
As the final product is a human voice rather than a synthesized voice, it is the best option if seeking a professional, high-quality recording. Emotion and tone are easier to capture in this form. Listening to a human voice rather than a synthesized voice can create greater connection and empathy for the listener. This quick guide to the best voice actor type for you can make the search for the right voice easier.
The fee you can expect to pay varies from platform to platform and voice actor to voice actor. It’s worth doing your research to find the best fit for what you are trying to achieve.
Sample scripts and text
Perhaps you’re not in the market for a text to speech provider when searching ‘voice over text’. Perhaps you want to be on the other side of the equation. A voice actor.
In this day and age, there is much opportunity for a person interested in becoming a voice actor to find paid work online. While professional training is likely to hold you in good stead, building up your experience with the old adage of “practice makes perfect” can make you a desirable option for those seeking a voice over service.
Luckily, there are websites that offer free-sample scripts for aspiring voice actors to practice with. One such website is Voice Actor Websites. They have a comprehensive library of sample text for users to practice with, ranging from topics such as healthcare to retail to poetry.
Practicing with these scripts can develop your skills and broaden the range of topics you may be able to tackle at a professional level. It can give you a starting point to record your own samples for your portfolio.
Creation of voice over text
We’ve explored consumers of text to speech conversions and those wanting to become voice actors. But what about if you are interested in writing the text to be used in a voice over?
Many writing, learning, and voice over platforms offer advice around the formulation of a script or text to be used in a voice over. Some of these, discuss voice over scripts specific to use with a video or clip. Their advice is related to the technical aspects of writing but also industry aspects such as why the voice over is recorded before animation begins. Others, such as Connie Malamed at the eLearning Coach, talk about voice over text writing in a more general sense.
Of course, not everyone wants to create their own voice over text, but would rather hire a writer to do this for them. Bunny Studio is one such platform that matches clients with writers to develop scripts specific to your needs. Most often, writers hired in this way have had previous experience with the creation of voice over text. The resulting script can then be used with a voice over recording platform. This alleviates the need for you to develop these skills yourself.
Looking for a talented scriptwriter? Hit us up and hire one today!
Converting speech into text
So far we’ve looked at one side of the coin – the conversion of text into speech for the purpose of voice over production. But for some people, coming at it from the other direction is their goal. They are wanting to convert their speech into text.
The reasons for voice to text conversion can be as physically obvious as being unable to write or type by hand due to being otherwise preoccupied (e.g. driving a car, arm/hand injury). It can also be a matter of creative flow – you might find it easier to talk out their thoughts and ideas than write them. Having this converted to text without the need to transcribe is a huge time saver and can make the editing process much more streamlined.
This list from Techradar outlines the best voice recognition software for desktops. Technology for voice recognition has come a long way over the last twenty years in the smart device space. In the realm of desktops, however, it seems competition is limited.
For those wanting to experience the time-saving benefits of speech to text conversion, using a smart device is the method of choice. However, consumers are realizing the benefits of this strategy and want to replicate it into their workspace. There is likely to be more growth in the desktop software sector as people are wanting to create documents and briefs using their voice and format this directly on their desktop.
A quick review
As you can see, using the term ‘voice over text’ carries with it many connotations of meaning and potential outcomes.
If you are wanting to turn your text into a voice recording, you have a myriad of options open to you. Some of these options are free and may be suitable if you are wanting to listen to a document while driving or similar. Others cost more but come with higher levels of authenticity and professionalism. These would be better suited to you if you are requiring voice overs for commercial purposes.
You may be keen to hone your skills as a voice actor, seeking scripts and text to practice with or to expand your portfolio. Accessing free scripts is possible with a number of voice over texts available online.
If you are wanting to develop your own text for the creation of voice overs, there is plenty of advice available. And if doing it yourself is not appealing or an option, there’s another way. Writing services can assist in the development of the script.
Coming at it from a different angle, you may be seeking to have voice converted to text. This is especially useful when unable to sit and type. Also, if talking through your ideas is easier than writing them down. While mobile apps lead the way in voice recognition software, desktop software is catching up.
The end game for voice over text
Having a specific understanding of what voice over text means to you will make it easier to search for and find the information and services that you’re looking for. It can be disheartening to search for a product or service only to find nothing relevant show up. Even the terminology within the audio industry is inconsistent.
With knowledge comes power. With power comes the ability to fulfill your goals. So, reach the end game and find a voice over text solution for you.
Want to sidestep the guesswork? Chat with us and hire a transcriptionist today!