Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Traveling with On Hold Voices

As the leaves ripen into reds and yellows, we are reminded that Thanksgiving is fast approaching – one of the most highly trafficked days of the year. 

I have also been bitten by the travel-bug, and though I’ve traveled to Australia (coincidentally, living at a home-stay in the same neighborhood as one of our Australian voiceover talent) and New Zealand, I want more. This time, I want to immerse myself in a completely foreign language.

Last night it hit me – I am going to travel to Japan. I’ll learn a few words, be able to read a few signs, find my way, right? Two hours later, reading up on Japan’s three alphabets that have a combined total of several thousand characters, each alphabet having a distinct tone, usage, and implication, my hopes began to deflate. Then, a sudden idea: there must be an app for this.

Turns out, it was free! Gtranslator is an application that translates not only input text, but also speech to text. I annunciated “hello, how are you” into the microphone, and the text popped up on the screen. With the click of a button, it was translated – into Japanese characters, which I couldn’t read. But luckily, the program speaks the translation! (I later back-translated the Japanese to make sure that the sentence structure was correct, and for the most part, it preserved the integrity of the English.)

The Japanese speech-to-text sounded acceptable. But when I tried the English speech-to-text, it was robotic, clipped, and unintelligible. Was this how the Japanese speech-to-text sounded to a native speaker? Would I be learning how to speak computer-generated speech, instead of natural speech?

My appreciation for professional voice talent only grew after hearing the grating speech-to-text. IfGtranslator had a professional Japanese voice talent, I would have more trust in the application and its translation services.

Using a human voice to represent your business is the most direct path to your customers, and a professional voice talent can be the missing link that will realize your brand.

Tags: audio branding, voiceover talent, Multilingual