people who have published audiobooks, do your reader sound like a robot?


#1

i cant stop feeling like alot of audiobooks today are read by robots.
it doesn’t feel human like for some odd reason…

does anyone know how to tell if the person who you got to make the audio is actually reading it out or somehow got a robot to do it for you?

i understand that it’s difficult to read out an entire book but…it’s what they’re supposed to do? or is getting an robot to read it out standard practice in the industry?


#2

Audio books are usually read by actors. Some even have a full cast.

Can you give an example of one that sounds like AI?

Could the book perhaps be a self published novel where the author used AI to save money? (Bad idea. Very bad idea.)


#3

I solve this problem by narrating them myself :slight_smile:

ACX (the distributor I use) requires narrators to be human, though I don’t know how thoroughly they check. Speech synthesisers are getting more and more sophisticated, though I’ve noticed they can still be tripped up by unconventional punctuation, or words that are misspelled or otherwise not in their dictionary. I came across one a while ago that didn’t know an em dash required a pause, and read the sentence as if it wasn’t there.


#4

I have narrators who put a lot of intonation and expression into their readings and they do different voices for different characters. Maybe you need to audition more narrators as that’s definitely NOT standard (from my experience).


#5

the only audition tapes i’ve heard are those from audibles and they are just like us…
so no full cast or actors…it wasn’t my book either

it wasn’t a bad audition and he kinda liked it but felt the same way i did, that it was a tad too robotic


#6

I find it tends to be the inexperienced narrators who sound robotic, because they’re stressing too much over getting everything perfect and haven’t yet learned either how to mark up their scripts to prompt them mid-flow about intonation and pace, or haven’t yet learned how to act (and for me, I look for an actor, not a narrator).

That said, even robotic narration is better than no narration if you have a reader who is legally blind. I’ve spoken to blind readers who will tolerate all kinds of robotic, chewy narrators if it means they get to actually read the book.


#7

I’m an actor (or rather, I was an actor) so I narrate my own. It’s hilarious and awkward and weird but great fun provided you know how to laugh at yourself (as any actor should). I’ve not heard any robotic audiobooks, but then again, as Amelia said, any kind of narrator is better than none for someone who is blind. My friend would kill for more books to be narrated, even by robots as he is legally blind and cannot see whatsoever. I will say though, bad narration offends me just as much as bad acting. I’ve stopped listening to some books because I’m picky, but I think that’s more my background in acting than anything else.


#8

I’m not familiar with audio books read by voice synths, but I’m fascinated by the number of other authors here who say they read their own. I’ve been working on getting into that myself (first three chapters of my Wattpad story are up as a bookcast), and I wondered if other people did it … So, hi everybody!


#9

I think it does have a lot to do with the skill of the narrator. I do my own books with full soundtrack and sound effects. I gotta say, it took me a while to get the swing of it. I had to go back and rerecord my entire first book. However, more authors are recording their own these days. I release the audio chapter with every written chapter I post. Does anybody else do this?
As far as robot…probably just someone with no soul, or maybe they just processed the crap out of it due to a poor recording.


#10

Good point. Most audio editing programs have a “noise reduction” feature, which is meant for removing the hissing sound that you get from cheap microphones and cheap amplifiers, or the mains hum that you can get from improperly grounded or shielded electronics. It’s usually quite good if the noise isn’t too loud in comparison to the sound you want, or the noise doesn’t have too broad a range of frequencies in it. But if the noise is too bad, or you apply too much noise reduction, the result can start to sound… I don’t know if I’d call it “robotic” exactly, but “unnatural” or “synthetic”, certainly.


#11

I’m not aware of any audiobook that sounds like this.

If you hire a narrator - they WILL read the book - they won’t use a robotic voice. If they used a robot some words would be wrong because of words that are spelled the same way but pronounced differently.

It’s not standard at all. In, fact I can’t think of a single book that does this. Can you provide some links to see what you are referring to? Are these audiobooks on audible.com?


#12

I don’t agree. If you are going to produce an “audiobook” then it has to be professionally recorded. That said, if you are a blind reader, there are all kinds of software that will do text to speech, so if you have the text of a file they already CAN get the “robot version.”


#13

Why doesn’t your friend use text to speech software? It’s “built in” on the Mac and Naturally speaking is very inexpensive for PC users. All he has to do is get the file open, highight and hit a button to start the speaking.


#14

Speech synthesisers are getting better at picking the right pronunciation, but they can still get it wrong. I think they still consider each sentence on its own, without referring to any previous sentences, and so they can’t use contextual clues that might help them pick the right pronunciation.


#15

I use them for proofing, and yes they have gotten better, but there are several times they get them wrong…for instance.

“wind” - as in the wind blows cold across the snow
“wind” - as in you need to wind your clock at least once a day.


#16

You mean your clock is never so exhausted that it has difficulty breathing? :wink:


#17

Never. My clock is in excellent physical condition :wink: