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Use of Text to Speech (TTS) in IVR System

What is TTS ( Text to Speech) ?
TTS or Text To Speech is a process where text is converted to WAV file and played back. So it is a system or often called “engine” that converts text to voice. If some one types a sentence in a note pad, a TTS software would convert it to voice ad play it through speaker attached to computer or laptop.

What does IVR System do ?
IVR System plays recorded voice on a telephone when a caller calls in. So, it is obvious that instead of playing recorded voice, IVR can play text file using TTS engine.

TTS software or engine:-
There are many TTS engines available. Many TTS engines are built in computer operating system. Microsoft SAPI5.1 is such TTS engine which is available for Windows Operating System. Voiceover is built-in TTS engine for MAC OS Leopard. There are various companies which make TTS engines. For example : AT&T, Nuance, SVOX etc.

Using TTS with IVR System
TTS is very useful when there are lot of dynamic content to be provided to caller in a voice portal. The use of TTS in IVR system is quite easy! Every TTS engine comes with SDK (Software Development Kit) which can be used to integrate with IVR application developed in various tools. Almost all RAD Tools for developing IVR applications, support TTS as well as speech recognition.

TTS produces voices which can be recognised easily that it is generated by a computer, not by human. So, people who are used to listening to human voice, may not be able to understand TTS easily. It is specially true for people whose first language is not English. Most of the world’s TTS engines support English. Recently many companies are developing TTS for other languages as well.

It may take some time, but it is expected that quality of TTS voice will increase where everyone will be able to understand TTS Engine generated voice easily. That will help voice portals immensely.

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