Text-to-speech on Amazon
Text-to-speech is one of many ways to improve accessibility on various devices by turning text on a webpage or document into speech you can hear out loud. If you are an Amazon user, you should know that there is a great TTS tool called Amazon Polly.
What is text-to-speech on Amazon, and how does it work?
Amazon Web Services offers numerous apps you can try out, and one of them is Amazon Polly—a text-to-speech tool. The app launched in 2016, and today it offers sixty different voices and twenty-nine languages.
Amazon Polly uses advanced deep learning and machine learning to synthesize natural-sounding voices, and the app is quite popular. If you ever used Duolingo, this app incorporates Amazon Polly to create realistic speech.
It is also possible for Amazon to create a voice just for you, but it might not be something everyday users would try out. The service is mostly designed for businesses, and it can be quite pricey.
Amazon Alexa, also known as just Alexa, is a virtual assistant many people use today. The technology behind this device is mostly based on a Polish voice synthesizer called Ivona. Amazon bought the Polish company and started perfecting the technology in 2013.
The idea behind Alexa is to assist you with everyday activities, and it can even control other smart devices around your home. One of the most recognizable features is that Alexa is capable of voice interaction, allowing you to talk to the device without any issues.
What is interesting is that Alexa combines both speech synthesis and speech recognition. You can also download an app that will allow you to use Alexa to read personal documents, and you can sync devices with it including Kindle, Kindle Fire tablet, browsers, and others.
Pros and cons to TTS on Amazon
As with any other text-to-speech feature or device you can find, there are advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of. This will help you better understand how the app works, and know what are its strengths.
Pros to TTS on Amazon
Amazon Polly offers not only English, but other languages and speech voices, and the quality is quite good. If you are an Amazon user, this can be an excellent chance for you to try out the software. At the same time, Amazon Polly works great with Alexa and other devices.
The app is easy to use, and it works great on all types of content. Furthermore, Polly works great for those who read slowly or struggle with reading due to things such as a learning disability or visual impairment. Instead of slowly going through the pages, you can turn on the app and listen to the latest news articles or other content.
It is also worth mentioning that Amazon Polly is great for integration with other apps, and if you want your app to offer the speech feature, this accessibility feature might be the solution to all of your problems.
Cons to TTS on Amazon
For many users, one of the main downsides will be the price. While there are numerous different subscription models, some can be quite pricey. Alexa is based on cloud computing technology, which means that you won’t be able to use it without an internet connection or Wi-Fi.
Moreover, many text-to-speech apps will struggle with words from time to time, and Polly is no different. This doesn’t mean that the app is bad, it just shows that there are other TTS options out there with higher speech output accuracy rates.
Finally, if you want to customize the app using the SSML, it might take you a while. The app is easy to use, and basic speech options are as simple as they can be. But if you want to change something on an advanced level, it won’t be as simple.
Speechify—An alternative to Amazon Polly
If you are looking for an alternative to Amazon Polly that will work on any device you have, the best answer is Speechify. The app works on Android, Apple’s iOS (iPhone and iPad), macOS, Windows, and web browsers like Chrome and Safari.
The main advantage of Speechify is that it is much simpler to use, and the high-quality voices will leave you speechless. The AI voices designed by this app are so realistic that they will sound like real actors did the voiceovers.
At the same time, Speechify allows you to sync the app with various devices, and you can continue where you left off by picking on a different device. The app also allows you to pick various languages and accents, and you can further customize voices to your liking. You can also use Speechify offline, which you cannot do with Amazon Polly.
So, if you are looking for an app that works perfectly well on any device and offers realistic voices, Speechify is the best available option.
What is Amazon Polly used for?
Amazon Polly is used to convert text to speech. It is a TTS tool, and it offers realistic voices. The most popular use case is on apps like Duolingo, where the user can hear the text written on the screen. Amazon Polly plays an important role for Alexa as well. However, there are even better TTS apps out there like Speechify which offer the same capabilities and much more.
What is the difference between text-to-speech and voice recognition?
Voice recognition is used when users want to communicate with the device by speaking. It turns voice to text. You can use this feature to dictate instead of writing the message or text. Speaking to Amazon Alexa and the program understanding you is an example of voice recognition.
Text-to-speech does the opposite. It converts text into speech, and it allows you to input text on your device so the software can read aloud.
How do I use Amazon text-to-speech?
Within Amazon Web Services or AWS, you will get to select Amazon Polly. Using the software is quite simple and all you need to do is copy and paste the text into the dedicated box.
From there on, starting the app is as easy as clicking on the “listen to speech” button.