- TikTok has a new female text-to-voice voice in its app.
- The new voice comes after an actor sued TikTok’s parent company, claiming her voice was being used without her permission.
- It’s not clear if the old text-to-speech voice will be available in the future.
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TikTok has a new female text-to-speech voice after an actor sued the company claiming her voice was being used without her permission.
While TikTok has not made a comment about the new voice, Insider tried using the voice-to-text feature on TikTok and confirmed there is a new female voice. TikTok originally rolled out the text-to-speech feature, which allows users to convert typed on-screen captions to automated speech, in late 2020. Voices for the feature vary by region (one text-to-speech voice on TikTok, for example, is lower), and the new voice appears to apply to North American users.
It’s not clear if this new voice has rolled out to all users, or if the old text-to-speech voice will still be available. Reports of the new voice began to appear on TikTok on Monday, with users questioning the reason for the change.
@gia.guidotti Like… why she sound like that tho…? #tiktokupdate#fyp#confused#weird#ihateit#texttospeech#foryou#explainthis
@gameboy_advance_sp YO what is this.do u guys have it like that too?#texttospeech #tiktok #update ?#fyp
The reason for the voice change is unclear. TikTok did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Earlier this month professional voice actor Beverly Standing sued TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, saying her voice was used in the app’s text-to-speech feature without her permission. The lawsuit claims that Standing was hired by an “Institute of Acoustics” to “perform voice work purportedly for Chinese translations,” claiming that the Institute is a Scotland-based company. It also states that “upon information and belief, a company from China contracted with the Institute of Acoustics,” and claims that TikTok used Standing’s work without her permission.
Standing told Insider that she recognized herself as the voice of the text-to-speech function after family and friends began to send her TikTok videos, saying that she was able to identify the voice-acting job that the audio was from based on its tonality and pitch. She said that she was not aware that the audio she recorded would be used for any purpose other than translation, and that it was not a part of the job agreement.
“As far as I’m concerned, TikTok is not my client, and so how they got this audio is unknown,” Standing told Insider.
Standing previously told Insider that some of the content associated with the feature goes against her personal brand. She also said that she was concerned that she may not be hired by future clients because her voice was already “branded” through association with TikTok.
“The whole point of me going this public… it’s not about the money overall,” she told Insider. “By going public I’m hoping I’m sharing with the end-users, the clients, the people that are doing the other end of it, realizing that this is my livelihood, and I’m behind this mic every single day working, training, teaching. You can’t just take it.”
Standing and her legal representative did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.