Captivate continues to provide one of the more robust text-to-speech (TTS) features among the various authoring products. It not only ships with multiple voices but can access the TTS options on your Windows computer as well (I’m not sure about Mac system access though).
But it’s not necessarily an easy process to setup, so in concert with eLearning Brothers, I submitted a post “Captivate 8: Working with Text-to-Speech and Voices” a couple weeks ago – though I’m just getting around to mentioning it now 🙂
Some additional information related to that writeup:
- The Speech Application Programming Interface or SAPI is an API developed by Microsoft to allow the use of speech recognition and speech synthesis within Windows applications.
- Captivate does support “SAPI 5 compliant” TTS voices though various web reviews show it to not-necessarily be a smooth process. Voices from CereProc reportedly work well, though I’ve never tried them myself.
- I did state this in the article but feel it’s worth repeating; while I prefer professional narration for the end-product, “using TTS agents can be a good way to test your proposed narration for audience review.”
- Tony Karrer and Dr. Joel Harband collaborated on a series of TTS articles a few years ago. A bit of the specific information is dated, but this post discusses what TTS is all about and what NLP means…
- If your audience and delivery includes 508/Accessibility concerns, be aware of conflicts between screen readers (i.e. JAWS) and your integrated TTS; in other words, be sure there’s a way to turn TTS off! And perhaps a ‘Play Narration’ button on each screen to be used as-needed.
Here’s a nice YouTube piece discussing CP8’s TTS features. Along with the video on eLearningBrother’s site, and the related articles (of course!) you should have a pretty solid understanding of TTS options in Captivate 8.
(and a little off-topic but somewhat related, here’s a good – if not a little dated – video demo’ing how to “synchronize a transcript with the recorded audio narration in Adobe Captivate”. )
3 thoughts on “Text-to-Speech in Captivate 8”
Audio files created from a live person talking usually need to have some time allotted in order to edit out pauses, lip smacking sounds, coughs and so on. Text-to-speech voices never cough, and aren’t prone to sounding different at different times of the day like real people do if they haven’t had their cup of coffee.
Those are interesting points in favor of TTS… I don’t think they outweigh my preference for ‘real people’ voiceover, but fair points. With a Pro, voice consistency shouldn’t be a problem, but I’ve definitely had that problem with non-pro sources (i.e. coworkers :)).
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