Businesses often need to expand into new markets to continue growing, but expansion can be costly. This is why companies are always looking for innovative ways to improve growth and scalability without compounding costs.
One crucial component of succeeding in new markets is localization — a series of methods and processes focusing on adapting services and support to a new market. Essentially, you want to speak your new customers’ language, both literally and figuratively.
The global languages industry, a cornerstone of localization, has more than doubled in size in the past decade, reaching US$56.43 billion in 2022. And while you’ll certainly need to offer support for customers in their native language, you can create a much stronger connection by also offering a localized accent and colloquialisms.
In the past, this involved hiring local translators and voiceover artists. While you may still need translators to create the text, you can create and deploy localized voice services throughout your organization using text-to-speech (TTS) technology. You’ll be able to provide local accents and enhance overall cultural relevance with every customer-facing voice.
Interested in learning more about TTS? Here’s more about how it can help your business scale.
What is text-to-speech (TTS)?
Text-to-speech (TTS) technology takes text input and produces speech. You’ve probably heard TTS over the years, and it’s typically been an unmistakable robotic voice.
Fortunately, TTS has come a long way in recent years, and artificial intelligence and neural networks have given rise to substantially more advanced methods of turning text into speech to better mimic voice.
The result — TTS is now a viable replacement for many voice services found throughout an organization, which is especially applicable when organizations expand into new markets with new languages and informal language.
NVIDIA breaks down the TTS pipeline and shows the complexity happening behind the scenes. While we don’t need to unpack every step, a high-level overview helps us see how it’s become capable of human-like speech:
- Text preprocessing converts numbers and abbreviations into words.
- Text encoding converts text into an encoded vector for input to the spectrogram.
- The spectrogram generator creates a spectrogram from the encoded text.
- A vocoder model takes the spectrogram input and creates a synthetic voice, which is the final output.
Neural networks have brought this process into the future, and now many people can’t differentiate between TTS and human voice.
What does TTS replace?
You can find TTS used in everything from YouTube videos to video games, but how can enterprises put it to work?
Localization requires providing the right language and accent throughout every country. It can quickly become costly when accomplished through native speakers, considering the number of voice services involved in your operation.
Enter TTS — you can rapidly localize critical aspects of your operation, including:
For example, let’s say you’re a bank with a straightforward menu for users to reach the correct department and use on-demand services. Without TTS, you’re tasked with hiring a third party, paying their rates, and having them create the voices in different languages (and menu options) for all your services — which may be only for your native country when you’re starting. As you expand, you need the same person or company to provide the service in each language, accent, and local dialect.
You can imagine how the legacy option can quickly become more expensive than it may seem initially. With TTS, you can translate existing scripts, generate a localized voice, and deploy new voice services at a fraction of the cost of hiring a third party. The additional benefits of multi-language TTS? You’ll also ensure a consistent voice, tone, and customer experience throughout every market.
When should you switch to TTS?
When should you switch from legacy options to TTS? You can spot a few ways to know if it’s time to upgrade:
For example, you’ve decided to expand into new geographic markets. Starting with TTS paves the way for cost-effective growth as you proceed.
You’ve already expanded and need to streamline costs before additional growth.
You want to target a different segment in an existing market. For example, you may have both English and Spanish speakers in a given market, and TTS helps you serve both without incurring significant costs.
5 reasons why you should use TTS to localize your business
Why should you put in the effort to localize your organization? Let’s break down some of the primary reasons and discuss the benefits of using TTS, or computer-generated voice from text, as you grow.
1. Gain a competitive advantage
Businesses gain a competitive advantage when investing in localization compared to others who don’t. Reaching out to new segments your competitors may be ignoring or undeserving can be a deciding factor in helping you generate more business for your company.
For example, imagine two businesses providing comparable or even identical services. The company with the best customer experience, including sales and ongoing support, will win customers over. Providing a great experience includes localization efforts, which provide the language, accent, and friendliness customers expect.
Localization allows you to nurture leads and convert them into customers by speaking their own language and incorporating cultural norms.
2. Enhance customer engagement
Would you rather engage with a company ready to speak your language or one with a frustrating menu you don’t understand very well?
Localization increases customer engagement by speaking to unique needs, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
From speech recognition in IVRs to voice assistant chatbots, TTS provides on-demand services and streamlined support — both help keep customers engaged and build loyalty.
3. Cater to distinct cultural norms
Each country and culture has its own norms, often beyond its language. These norms include specific values, communication styles, and colloquialisms.
Localizing demonstrates respect and understanding of these cultural norms and differences, allowing your communications to resonate more directly with customers. Customers will more likely become loyal to your brand, which benefits your entire organization.
4. Tap into new markets
TTS makes it easier to tap into markets by minimizing expansion costs. You’ll be able to build a broader customer base by reaching into new markets and segments. Localization is crucial to speaking to these new customers, and TTS allows you to provide the right language support without the high costs of legacy options.
5. Scale with ease
Ultimately, TTS creates a blueprint for scaling into new markets. While some TTS solutions may not provide language translation — you can integrate Google Translate or another translation service along with the help of local experts to create text in the language you need. Plus, APIs exist to allow developers to integrate translation, too.
With the right TTS solution and languages in place, you can scale into any market. You don’t need to hire voiceover talent to record every verification call and menu option — instead you can leverage TTS to do this for you.
Partner with Sinch for better scalability with TTS
Enterprises need to localize alerts, call verifications, IVRs, and accessibility features as they grow. Without localization, you won’t correctly meet the expectations of new customers, and localizing with legacy options rapidly becomes expensive.
Fortunately, TTS allows you to scale cost-effectively and efficiently. You’ll be able to meet and exceed expectations with every new market and segment within it.
The Sinch Programmable Voice API equips your teams with the tools necessary to create voice services at scale. Are you ready to upgrade your localization efforts with TTS? Reach out to us today to talk to an expert.