Automated Voices vs. Human Voices: how do I choose?

automated voices

Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

You might have a piece of tech in your home right with an automated voice, using all of our modern artificial intelligence advancements, to retrieve facts for you, schedule appointments at your request, and help you turn your lights on and off. Once you start asking that device to read you poetry, answer a complex question, or respond to you by name without sounding like a Speak n’ Spell, the flaws come out.

Automation is the wave of the future in many industries, but when you start discussing creative and nuanced content, can automation really substitute for the human voice?

You may not mind an automated voice telling you how to reach the right department on the phone, but if you call a new doctor’s office with specific questions, talking to Siri may not be of help. The right kind of phone system voice over needs to be both functional and welcoming.

The truth is that until artificial intelligence takes another significant leap into the future, it’s still best to use a human voice whenever possible. However, if you are in need of a voice over for a phone system, a voice-automated app, or a hearing aid, just to mention a few examples, it’s important to ask yourself if your product would benefit more from using human voices or automated voices. In order to determine that, you need to first ask yourself:

  • What kind of voice recording are you creating?
  • How do you want your clients to react to/interact with your voice recording?
  • What kind of information are you trying to convey?

These answers should help you determine whether to use an automated voice or a human voice. Automated voices have merit, but it’s still important that you use the right kind of voice recording.

When it makes sense to automate

  1. Simplicity: If the information you are conveying is simple and straightforward, like security codes or account numbers, automated voices can be very helpful. You want the sound to be crystal clear and easy to understand. The basic applications for this technology would be phone systems and audio-response systems.
  2. Adaptability: If you want to create content that you can adapt consistently in the future, automation can be an asset. With automated voices, you can change your message without having to pay for any new recordings. If you are a school district for example, and you want to be able to send out messages to parents quickly, using an automated phone system voice over could be smart.
  3. Localization: If you need a voice recording in several languages, automated voices could be your best option. It’s important to know, though, that it’s easy to find a voice over actor for this purpose too. VoiceBunny offers over 50 spoken languages, for instance.

 When does your content need a human touch?

  1. Emotion: Imagine programming an automated voice to deliberately stutter, gasp or tremble… Audiobooks, for example, seem simple; but reading one requires a great understanding of tone and the nuance conveyed by these simple speech acts.
  2. Personalization: Have you heard the ads on Spotify that mention you by name? When you’re doing something that truly addresses the listener, a human voice is key. Your ads will ultimately feel more trustworthy if a person (who took time out of their day to talk to you!) is voicing them.
  3. Trust: People have been increasingly becoming uneasy about revealing their data and identity online, and about algorithms tracking them. Have you ever wondered why the majority of automated voices are female? Research shows that people may have a tendency to be more trusting of a female voice. While clients don’t mind being sold something, they may not want to be reminded by a robotic voice that they are just a chunk of data.

For smaller, more direct, less emotional information, automation can be great; If you want the people consuming your content to connect with it, nothing beats a human voice.

To make sure your voice recording is done in a timely and professional manner, reach out to us! Whether you are looking for a phone system voice over, an audiobook reading, an e-learning video voice over, or any other content, we can definitely help you out.

Author: Laura Varon

Content creator, marketer, translator. I studied advertising because I wanted to know a little about everything and I am a translator because I want to know a lot about a lot. I co-write with WritingBunny.