Everything You Need to Know About Text to Speech on TikTok

Learn how to use TikTok's text to speech feature and compare it against tools like ElevenLabs

TikTok has exploded in popularity in recent years, boasting over 2 billion active users—but did you know it has a handy text-to-speech feature that allows your videos to reach wider audiences? 

This innovative function allows text captions, hashtags, video titles or written content to be read aloud so viewers can simply listen rather than read.

However, like any technology, text-to-speech on TikTok comes with its set of advantages and challenges. From enhancing accessibility for visually impaired users to sometimes struggling with voice clarity or pronunciation, the feature's impact is multifaceted.

This article explores the workings, benefits, limitations, and alternatives of this tool available to users seeking more customized voiceover options. If that’s you, check out ElevenLabs’ industry leading text-to-speech tool today. 

Whether you're a content creator looking to add a new layer to your videos or a marketer aiming to reach TikTok's vast audience more effectively, this piece will provide you with the insights needed to navigate the world of text-to-speech on one of the world's most influential social media platforms. 

What is TikTok's text-to-speech feature?

TikTok text-to-speech allows users to convert typed text into oral descriptions within their TikTok videos. This functionality serves multiple purposes: it makes content more accessible to individuals who may have difficulty reading on-screen text, it enriches the user experience by adding an auditory layer to visual content, and it offers creators a simple yet powerful tool to enhance storytelling.

By utilizing text to speech, TikTok creators can produce content that is not only more inclusive but also more engaging. The feature supports a variety of voices, enabling users to select the tone and style that best fits their content's mood or their brand's personality. It also complements another recent TikTok change, which allows users to add multiple text bubbles to videos.

How to Use TikTok's Text-to-Speech Voice Feature

This feature enhances video content by converting written text into spoken narration. It not only makes content more accessible but also adds a creative layer to videos. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use it effectively.

  1. Create or Upload a Video: Begin by creating a new video or selecting one from your gallery to upload to TikTok.
  2. Add Text to Your Video: After uploading your video, tap on the "Text" button at the bottom of the screen to add your desired text.
  3. Choose Text-to-Speech: Once you've added text, press and hold on to the text box, and an option menu will appear. Select "Text-to-Speech" from this menu.
  4. Customize TikTok Voice Option: TikTok offers various voice options, whether female voice or male, for text-to-speech. After selecting "Text-to-Speech," apply voice that best fits your video's tone and content.
  5. Preview and Edit: Preview your video with the text-to-speech audio during the editing stage. If needed, you can go back and make edits to the text or voice selection to ensure it aligns with your video's theme.
  6. Finalize and Share: Once you’re satisfied with the text-to-speech narration, proceed to finalizing your TikTok video. Add any additional effects or edits, then publish it to your TikTok profile to share with your audience.

This process allows creators to easily integrate spoken word into their content, making videos more engaging and accessible to a wider audience.

Pros of TikTok's Text-to-Speech Feature

TikTok's text-to-speech (TTS) feature has significantly impacted the platform, offering numerous advantages to content creators and viewers alike. Here's a closer look at its benefits:

Enhances Accessibility

One of the primary benefits of TikTok's TTS feature is its ability to make content more accessible and inclusive. By converting text within videos into voiceovers, creators can cater to a wider audience, including those with visual impairments or reading difficulties. This inclusivity allows for a more diverse community on the platform​​.

Boosts Attention and Engagement

In a sea of over one million videos watched daily on TikTok, standing out is crucial. The TTS feature provides a unique tool for creators to make their videos distinctive. By adding narration or playing with the AI's pronunciation capabilities, creators can capture viewers' attention and foster greater engagement with their content​​.

Facilitates Narration and Storytelling

For creators focusing on storytelling or tutorial videos, the TTS feature is invaluable. It offers a straightforward solution for narrating content, especially for those who may not be comfortable recording their own voice. This feature supports a new style of entertainment, where the interaction between the visual content and AI-generated voice adds a fresh layer to the storytelling​​.

Encourages Creative Use of AI

The TTS new feature has also spurred a new niche of entertainment content on TikTok, where users experiment with the AI's capabilities. This includes seeing how the AI pronounces certain words or phrases, adding a humorous or unexpected twist to videos. Such creative use of technology not only entertains but also explores the boundaries of AI's role in content creation​​.

Cons of TikTok's Text-to-Speech Feature

While the TikTok text-to-speech (TTS) feature offers numerous benefits, it's not without its limitations and challenges. Understanding these drawbacks is crucial for creators aiming to optimize their content on the platform.

Limited Voice Options

One of the main drawbacks of TikTok’s TTS feature is the limited range of automated voice options available. This can restrict creators who wish to match the voiceover's tone more closely with their video's mood or content. The lack of diversity in TikTok voices may also affect the overall impact of the narration, making it less engaging for some audiences.

Lack of Emotional Depth

AI-generated voices, while technologically impressive, often lack the emotional depth and nuance that human narration provides. This can result in a disconnect between the video's visual content and the voiceover, potentially diminishing the intended emotional or comedic effect of the content.

Pronunciation and Clarity Issues

TTS technology sometimes struggles with pronunciation, especially for names, technical terms, or languages other than English. Mispronunciations can confuse viewers or detract from the video's professionalism. Additionally, the clarity of AI voices can vary, affecting the understandability of the narration for viewers.

Potential Overuse and Annoyance

As more creators adopt the TTS feature, there's a risk of overuse, which could lead to viewer fatigue. Audiences might grow tired of hearing the same AI voices across multiple videos, reducing the novelty and effectiveness of the feature. Overuse can also make content feel less personalized and diminish a creator's unique voice.

Technical Glitches and Reliability Issues

Some users have reported technical glitches with the TTS feature, including it disappearing from the app or being unpredictable in its functionality. These reliability issues can disrupt the content creation process and affect the timely production and posting of videos.

In summary, while the TTS feature on TikTok opens up creative possibilities and enhances accessibility, it's important for creators to be aware of its limitations. By understanding these cons, creators can better strategize their use of the feature to maximize the impact of their content on the platform.

TikTok Text-to-Speech vs. ElevenLabs

This TikTok feature is certainly handy—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for content creators. Far from it. Dedicated platforms like ElevenLabs are a far superior option for creators looking to produce high-quality content. 

Here’s why. 

  • Advanced Voice Quality: ElevenLabs' TTS technology employs state-of-the-art AI models, resulting in more natural-sounding and expressive voice options compared to TikTok's more robotic tones. This can significantly enhance the viewer's experience.
  • Wide Range of Voices: Unlike TikTok, which offers a limited selection of voices, ElevenLabs provides access to a broad array of voice types and accents. This diversity enables creators to match the voiceover perfectly with their content's tone and context.
  • Customizable Emotional Tones: ElevenLabs allows users to adjust the emotional tone of the voiceover, such as making it sound happier, sadder, or more enthusiastic. This level of control is not available in TikTok's TTS feature, offering creators the ability to convey more nuanced storytelling.
  • Better Pronunciation Control: With ElevenLabs, creators can fine-tune the pronunciation of specific words or phrases, ensuring that their voiceovers are clear and accurate. This addresses one of the significant limitations of TikTok's TTS, where mispronunciations can sometimes occur.
  • High-Quality Audio Output: The audio quality produced by ElevenLabs' TTS is superior, with fewer artifacts and a cleaner sound. This is crucial for creators who prioritize high production values in their content.
  • Integration Capabilities: ElevenLabs' TTS technology can be integrated into a wider range of applications and platforms, offering versatility beyond TikTok. This makes it an excellent choice for creators who distribute content across multiple channels.
  • Accessibility Features: While TikTok's TTS enhances accessibility, ElevenLabs' advanced options, such as customizable speech rates and better clarity, further improve content accessibility for people with disabilities.

Choosing ElevenLabs' TTS feature over TikTok's built-in option offers content creators greater flexibility, quality, and control over their voiceovers. This can lead to more engaging, professional, and inclusive content that stands out in a crowded digital landscape.

Final Thoughts

In summary, TikTok text-to-speech feature significantly enhances content creation, making it more accessible and engaging for a wide audience. It allows creators to transform written text into spoken words, adding depth and personality to videos. By staying up-to-date with the latest updates, experimenting with different voices, and tailoring content to audience preferences, creators can leverage this tool to elevate their TikTok presence and connect more effectively with their viewers.

Looking ahead, the future of TikTok's text to speech holds promising advancements, with potential for more natural voices and increased customization options. These innovations will continue to empower creators, offering new ways to captivate and engage audiences. As TikTok evolves, so too will the opportunities for creators to innovate and inspire through their content.

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