Beyond its speech to text functions, Twilio also offers text to speech (TTS). So let’s break it down.
Text to speech Twilio
Customer engagement is critical in marketing. Collecting a customer’s phone number isn’t enough. You need to make phone calls and send SMS messages to keep that customer engaged.
That’s where Twilio comes in.
With Twilio, you can use transcription to create automated voice calls to set up an interactive voice response (IVR) system. But beyond its speech to text functions, Twilio also offers text to speech (TTS). So let’s break it down.
What is Twilio?
Twilio is a cloud communication platform designed to help you talk to customers in any format you wish.
For example, let’s say you want to tell a customer about their order status. You may choose to do that via a phone call, email, or SMS text message. No matter which option you prefer, Twilio has the functionalities needed to do it.
The twist is that the Twilio platform uses application programming interfaces (APIs) for its features. Developers use APIs to allow two pieces of software to communicate with each other.
In the case of Twilio, this allows the platform to integrate with almost any other software. Suppose you already have a phone system in place that offers substantial workflow benefits. You can use APIs as part of your software development kit (SDK) to combine that system with Twilio.
The same goes for an e-commerce platform that uses email or a text messaging system. Using speech synthesis markup language (SSML), the platform can give a voice to almost any text. Twilio can integrate with them all of them to make customer communication easier.
How to activate text to speech on Twilio
Twilio comes with basic text to speech functionality that you can access with a simple piece of code:
You may notice that this code looks similar to HTML. This is because much of Twilio’s programming uses the same sort of coding techniques as web platforms, meaning those versed in HTML, XML, and PHP should find it easy to use.
Here’s an example that you can try today:
This simple code causes Twilio’s voice applications to say “Hello World” in real-time. And with Twilio’s Programmable Voice API, you get complete control over how this voice gets used.
Activating Amazon Polly on Twilio
If you have a Twilio account, you’re not limited to Twilio’s basic speech recognition and text to speech functions. Using your Twilio console, you can access a range of Amazon Polly voices thanks to Twilio’s integration with Polly.
This integration means you’re not stuck with the Twilio default voice. You can try different voices until you find the right one for your project. Here are the steps for changing a text to speech voice in Twilio:
Head to Twilio.com and log in to your account.
Select “Programmable Voice” from the navigation bar on the left. A telephone icon represents it.
Click “TwiML” and select “Text to Speech.”
Navigate to the “Current Language Mapping” section and choose your desired language.
You should arrive at a screen titled “Test & Configure Voices By Language.”
The screen contains three drop-down menus:
Choose your language, such as en-gb (English – British). Make sure you choose a language to transcribe that customers in your target locale will understand.
The provider drop-down lets you choose between Twilio’s basic text to speech and Amazon Polly. Finally, the voice option allows you to choose which voice you want to use.
There’s also a handy text box in which you can input text. You can try out a range of voices with Amazon Polly before making your choice.
Changing text to speech voices in TwiML
You can use the <Say> TwiML verb command to code a voice specifically for a project. The code is like that for using the basic Twilio TTS:
<Say voice=”Polly.Kimberly” language=”en-US”>Hello from Kimberly</Say>
Note the use of a specific Amazon Polly voice in this code. Before entering these commands, you’ll need to know the names of the voices Polly provides.
Speechify – A Twilio alternative for text to speech
While Twilio is ideal for IVR systems, it’s not an especially accessible TTS for regular users. Plus, it’s not suitable for reading the text from docs and other files. You’ll need to read through several tutorials to use it properly.
You need an alternative if you want a pick-up-and-play TTS app. Speechify is one of the best choices available.
Speechify is text to speech software you can download for iOS, macOS, Android, and Google Chrome. A free version of the app is also available via the Speechify website. It comes with a host of valuable features, including:
Access to TTS voices in over 14 languages, including English, Spanish, and Arabic.
Customizable reading speeds allow you to slow text for accessibility purposes or speed it up if you want to be more productive.
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology lets you scan text into the app using your device’s camera. Speechify uses machine learning technology to read the text in the picture aloud.
Natural-sounding human voices created using clever AI technology.
Handy note-taking tools that make Speechify ideal for learning.
Granted, you can’t use the app to create an IVR. However, those interested in TTS for learning, accessibility, or reading purposes will find everything they need with Speechify.
Try Speechify for free
Perhaps you’re ready to give Speechify a try. Like Twilio, Speechify offers a free trial to test the app’s basic features. Try it today to discover if Speechify is the correct text to speech software for your needs.
How do I change Twilio voice?
You can change the voice Twilio uses via your Twilio console. Instructions on how to do this are in the article.
How do I add TTS to my website?
You usually need to use a TTS API to add text to speech to your website.
What is Twilio Voice?
Twilio Voice allows developers to control the voices used in communication with their customers. It’s used for transcription, IVRs, call recording, and more.
What languages does Twilio voice support?
Twilio voice supports British English, American English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German.
How do I use Twilio to give a speech?
You can have Twilio give a speech by programming the speech’s text into the platform. Then, use its TTS functionality to read the text on your behalf.