Synthetic speech start-up Murf want a word with you

Text-to-speech has been around for years, but quality limitations meant they were used primarily by voice assistants and chat bots. Developments in AI and deep learning now make it possible to create synthetic voices that have the prosody and pronunciation of human speech.

Traditional voiceover and dubbing markets are predicated to generate a total of $8 billion annually by 2027. The global text-to-speech market is expected to show compound annual growth of nearly 15% year-on-year and reach $7.06 billion by 2028.

Two year-old Murf, which has a library of more than 120 natural-sounding human voices across 20 languages, has just raised $10 million in a new round of funding. Murf’s technology has been used to make an entire film using AI art models and deepfakes, a TV series, several fantasy fiction audiobooks, a rap video, explainer videos and e-learning tools.

Murf also wants to improve text-to-speech workflows.

While TTS has been around for quite some time now, limitations in voice quality have restricted its usage. By leveraging recent advances in AI and deep learning, we are making it possible to create high-fidelity synthetic voices that mimimize the natural prosody and pronunciation of human speech.”

Ankur Edkie, CEO, Murf

Murf’s AI-powered TTS learns from contextual information to create contextual speech. In-built context awareness allows it to recognise common used entity formats like numbers, currencies, percentages, addresses, dates and times, reducing randomness and bringing them closer to a predefined standard.

Users have access to an online voice recording booth where they can sample a wide array of speaking styles, including voices across accents such as African American, British, Australian and others. Features for pronunciation use the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) and voice customisations that change users’ pitch, pause, emphasis and speed.

“Going beyond a simple text to speech tool, our platform offers the ability for users to add images, videos, presentations, and to the voiceover, include background music and sync them altogether to create compelling content.”

Ankur Edkie, CEO, Murf

Murf’s main competitors are large tech and cloud companies like Google, Amazon, Polly and Microsoft, but they cite natural-sounding AI voices that also support multiple accents and styles as their USP over these market-leading giants. 

Source: TechCrunch