Top 5 Everyday Uses of Text-to-Speech Technology
Sometimes, people ask us if there are any uses of Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology for personal users who don’t have a disability. While Text-to-Speech can be hugely beneficial for people with physical or learning disabilities, there are many other uses for TTS out there that people without disabilities can benefit from too. Whether you’re commuting and want to listen to an audio book or getting directions from your GPS, there are tons of ways you can use TTS in everyone’s everyday life.
I’ll use yesterday as an example. Yesterday, I interacted with Text-to-Speech in at least 5 different scenarios. And I’m not alone – over 50% of the world’s population relies on TTS every day!
On my way to work, I used my GPS to find a route without traffic. At work, I proof-read one of my blog posts to make sure I wasn’t making any silly spelling mistakes. At lunch, I went to an ATM to check my account balance. On the way home, I plugged my phone into my car stereo and listened to the latest news. For dinner, I asked my phone to find a pizza place close to home. Sounds like a normal day, right? So, where does Text-to-Speech come in?
In every one of these situations I used Text-to-Speech software. My GPS used Text-to-Speech to tell me where to turn and my ATM used Text-to-Speech to tell me what options I had for checking my account balance. At work, I used our TTS software to proofread my article, which is a great idea, because it reads your article out loud so you can hear if a sentence is too long or a word is misspelled. I’m sure you all know how hard it can be too see mistakes when you’ve read your work 15 times already.
After a busy day at work, I got in my car to drive home. It is unsafe to read the news while I drive, so I let my NewSpeak app read the latest news aloud to me. Personally, I think it is the perfect way to spend time stuck in traffic. Then, when I needed to find a pizza restaurant, my phone used TTS technology to tell me where the closest Italian restaurant to my house was.
In hindsight, it was amazing how many times I’d used Text-to-Speech software without really realizing it. So, I wanted to bring to you the Top 5 Everyday Uses for Text-to-Speech in this blog post so you can start making the most of this great technology.
1 – Transportation
You know when you’re running late for a flight and they embarrassingly call your name out to the entire airport? Or maybe you’re an organized person who just listens in to know when your flight is boarding?
Either way, these are prime examples of everyday uses of Text-to-Speech. One of the great aspects of TTS is that it is dynamic, so it can actively change to announce a different gate number or passenger’s name, which just wouldn’t be possible with a pre-recorded audio file. This means the staff can focus on more important things, such as getting you from A to B.
This isn’t limited to the airport, either. TTS is used in buses, in GPS systems, ticketing apps and so much more. It is even used in interactive audio kiosks at train stations. Some cities have free apps that will give you live updates about the running of trains or buses – these usually use TTS. You may have never noticed before, but TTS is all around you as you commute.
2 – Keeping Up to Date
After a long day at work, it is time to give your eyes a break. Whether you’re on the train, biking or in your car, TTS can be used to listen to the latest news without having to squint to see a small screen. If this is what you’re looking for, I’d recommend taking a look at the NewsSpeak app (available in the App Store and Google Play). It was designed specifically for commuters who want to keep up to date.
This doesn’t just apply to consuming the most recent news either; you can also relax and take in the latest horror story or romance novel. Audio books are an excellent example of technology that uses Text-to-Speech. You can sit back, relax, and listen to the entire story with your eyes closed. Text-to-Speech can handle PDFs and Word Documents too, allowing you to study without straining your eyes.
3 – Reading, Writing and Speech Skills
As I said earlier, TTS is perfect for proof-reading your work by enabling you to hear your writing out loud and identify mistakes. Our TTS products highlight the sentence and word that is being said aloud so you can easily spot a mistake and fix it.
But Text-to-Speech can help you learn in many other ways too. Our TTS has a variety of speeds so you can slow the pronunciation down to a level at which you can hear exactly how a word is said. This is useful if you find a new word you don’t know how to pronounce or are practicing a speech and want to hear how a phrase would be said naturally.
If you are looking for TTS software to help improve these skills, I’d recommend our VoiceText Editor for desktop. But you may want something a little more portable, in which case I’d recommend taking a look at the VoiceDream Reader and VoiceDream Writer apps. All of these products are designed specifically for this type of learning environment and come with fantastic support.
4 – Health Care
Have you ever received an automated voice message from your doctor’s office reminding you of the timing of your next appointment? This usually uses Text-to-Speech because the TTS engine can dynamically call each patient and insert the appropriate name and time into the message. So listen out next time you get a phone call from your doctor and see if you can spot the use of TTS.
On the other hand, there are numerous exercise apps that utilize Text-to-Speech technology. These guide you through your exercise routine so you don’t have to look down at your device while running. These apps can even give you instructions while listening to your favorite song, which is perfect for keeping up your pace.
Lastly, virtual personal assistants are becoming more and more popular over the last few years. These are virtual people who aid you in certain ways, from reminding you to take your pills to helping diagnose your illness without having to see a doctor.
For example, the Affective Social Computing Laboratory has created a Virtual Assistant that can diagnose potential health problems and inform you if you should consult a doctor. This was developed for a variety of reasons, but I particularly like that they have found a way of diagnosing a potential problem without the embarrassment of having to tell a human being. While this is not an everyday use of TTS, it is just one great example of how TTS technology could be used in virtual personal assistants to help humanity!
5 – Learning a New Language
I think one of the most rewarding everyday applications of TTS is the ability to help us learn. When learning a new language, it is essential to hear a native speaker pronounce each word clearly so you can follow along and practice. However, paying for a tutor can be expensive and inflexible.
The internet has opened up new possibilities for learning a language online. There are countless websites that offer an introduction to your new favorite language. But how do they get clear and friendly voices to say all those vowels and words for every language with high quality audio? The answer is TTS. By using an application with TTS, you no longer need to meet a tutor on their schedule. You can learn when and where you want for a fraction of the cost.
Want to try it out for yourself? Take a sentence from your Spanish textbook, type into our VoiceText™ Text-to-Speech desktop engine and viola! Violeta, our female Spanish voice, will let you know exactly how to say that word or sentence. Or, if you don’t have our VoiceText Engine, try out the free demo at the top of our homepage.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an app, I’d recommend Duolingo. It doesn’t offer as much flexibility as our VoiceText Editor in terms of what you can learn, but it is easy to take with you and offer daily reminders to keep you in check. Also, it is rather fun!
What do you think? Do you already use Text-to-Speech for any of these activities?
Do you agree that these are some of the top everyday uses of TTS? Or is there an application you think deserves to be on this list? Are you now thinking of integrating TTS into your life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn More about the Applications of Text-to-Speech
To be honest, there are just too many applications of TTS to name them all here! You can arm your security system, change the temperature of your home, interact with mobile apps, book appointments and so much more. If you want more details on the numerous applications of Text-to-Speech, take a look at our Areas of Application page.
Or, if you’re considering adding Text-to-Speech to your next application or product, fill out our Sales Inquiry form and our friendly sales team will help you find out what would be the best way to do exactly that.