Adding voiceover to your courses can help bring content to life and make your e-learning materials more engaging. In an ideal world, we could all use professional, high-quality, natural-voice talent. But let’s face it: sometimes that’s unrealistic, in which case you’re going to find Text-to-Speech (TTS) to be a really helpful feature for adding some oomph to your courses. Even if you’re using professional narration, TTS is useful during the up-front storyboarding, to help you nail down the final script and to allow stakeholders to get a better feel for the final content. Another benefit: TTS can make your courses more accessible if you use it to provide audio information for low- or non-sighted learners.
There are quite a few advantages to using TTS for your narration. Got changes to your script? Need to tweak a word or term used throughout your audio? With TTS, there’s no need to re-record. Simply pop into the text window to makes script changes. With a few clicks, you’ve updated the audio.
Translation is also quick and easy with TTS, because you won’t need to record audio in multiple languages. It’s as simple as copying over the translated text, assigning a voice for that language, and clicking Insert.
Writing for TTS voices does come with its own challenges: TTS voices don’t have intonation or tone, and they always pronounce words the same way. Let’s look at some tips you can follow to improve your script and make sure your TTS audio sounds as good as possible.
Don’t use abbreviations
Spell out words to make sure they're pronounced correctly.
The TTS voice will read the script text exactly as it is written, errors and all, so make sure to double-check your script for spelling mistakes and typos.
Adjust the spelling
If a correctly spelled word isn't pronounced the way you want, try spelling it phonetically or adding hyphens between syllables. For example, Articulate vs. Articu-late.
Make sure to use a generous amount of periods and commas. TTS writing tends to use commas for “breathing room” and clarity. If you would pause momentarily while speaking, insert a comma. If you need longer pauses, convert your text to speech, then open the clip in the built-in audio editor and insert silence where it's needed.
Preview audio clips
One of the most important things you can do is preview each and every audio clip. Listen carefully to how each one sounds. You might then want to make some tweaks to get a specific sound.
These are a few simple tips you can follow to make sure your audio sounds great. Want to learn more about TTS and see examples? Have a look at these resources and articles:
- 3 Examples That Showcase Text-to-Speech in E-Learning
- Add Polished Narration to Your Courses with the Text-to-Speech Feature in Storyline
- Storyline 360: Converting Text to Speech
Do you have any tips of your own that you use to improve your TTS? Let me know in the comments below.
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