Diversity and representation in text to speech (TTS)

April 3, 2023

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of diversity and representation in various aspects of technology. One area that has received particular attention is text to speech (TTS) technology. TTS is the process by which a computer program converts written text into spoken words. While TTS technology has advanced significantly in recent years, there is still work to be done to ensure that it is inclusive and representative of all people.

One of the key issues with TTS technology is the lack of diversity in the voices that are available. Many TTS systems only offer a limited number of voices, most of which are male and have a standard American or British accent. This can be a problem for people who do not identify with these voices, or who find them difficult to understand. It can also contribute to a lack of representation for people from different cultures and backgrounds.

To address this issue, some TTS companies are working to develop more diverse and inclusive voices. For example, Narration Box provides already provides it's users with a range of voices with different accents and genders, including voices that speak Spanish, French, and German, including different languages and accents, including Indian English and Australian English.

Another important aspect of diversity and representation in TTS is ensuring that the technology is accessible to people with disabilities. For example, people with hearing impairments may find it difficult to understand spoken words, and may require TTS technology to convert written text into visual displays. Similarly, people with visual impairments may rely on TTS technology to convert written text into audio format. It is important that TTS technology is designed with these users in mind, and that it is easy to use and accessible for people with different disabilities.

Finally, it is important to consider the ethical implications of TTS technology. For example, there are concerns that TTS technology could be used to create fake audio recordings of people's voices, which could be used for malicious purposes such as identity theft or fraud. It is important that TTS technology is developed and used responsibly, and that there are safeguards in place to prevent its misuse.

In conclusion, diversity and representation are important considerations in the development of TTS technology. It is important to ensure that TTS systems are inclusive and representative of all people, and that they are accessible to people with different disabilities. By doing so, we can ensure that TTS technology is a tool that benefits everyone, and that it contributes to a more diverse and inclusive society.

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