Spotify is opening up overseas language markets to its podcasters by means of synthetic intelligence.
The firm on Monday introduced a pilot program known as Voice Translation for podcasts that not solely interprets a podcast from one language to a different however will retain the podcaster’s voice because it does it.
Spotify’s new translation device, which makes use of OpenAI’s voice technology expertise, can clone a speaker’s voice traits to make a translation sound extra pure.
The pilot program will characteristic choose podcasts from Dax Shepard, Monica Padman, Lex Fridman, Bill Simmons, and Steven Bartlett, translated into Spanish, French, and German.
In the long run, Spotify additionally plans to translate episodes of Dax Shepard’s “eff won with DRS,” “The Rewatchables” from The Ringer, and Trevor Noah’s new unique podcast to be launched later this yr.
“By matching the creator’s own voice, Voice Translation gives listeners around the world the power to discover and be inspired by new podcasters in a more authentic way than ever before,” Spotify Vice President of Personalization Ziad Sultan mentioned in an announcement.
“We believe that a thoughtful approach to AI can help build deeper connections between listeners and creators, a key component of Spotify’s mission to unlock the potential of human creativity,” he added.
Benefits for Podcasters and Spotify
The new translation device has the potential to be helpful to each podcasters and Spotify. “The Spotify proposal could extend the audience reach of these podcasts to new audiences and countries,” mentioned Greg Sterling, co-founder of Near Media, a information, commentary, and evaluation web site.
“This potentially benefits both Spotify and the podcaster by expanding audience reach,” he informed TechNewsWorld.
English podcasts translated into Mandarin and Hindi would have entry to some very giant markets they wouldn’t have entry to if the podcaster didn’t converse these languages, added Rowan Curran, analyst with Forrester Research, a nationwide market analysis firm headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.
“This represents a democratization of language AI capabilities,” he informed TechNewsWorld. “That’s following the pattern of the last couple of years of these really advanced functionalities becoming available to a very broad set of folks.”
Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst on the Enderle Group, an advisory companies agency in Bend, Ore., identified that podcasters gained’t solely be including to their viewers however their wallets, too, because the extra ears their podcasts seize, the larger the potential revenues they will generate.
The identical is true for Spotify. “Each performer can generate more income; high performers will make the company much more money,” he informed TechNewsWorld.
Pressure To Make Investments Pay Off
Ashu Dubey, co-founder and CEO of Gleen, a generative AI firm in Pleasanton, Calif., agreed that the interpretation device might have a optimistic influence on Spotify’s backside line.
“If there is a high-demand podcast that is only recorded in English, then this technology could expose that program to audiences in Japan or France, for example, and help Spotify sell more subscriptions in those countries,” he informed TechNewsWorld.
Spotify actually must promote extra subscriptions, maintained Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry Podcasting, a podcast internet hosting and distribution service in Traverse City, Mich.
“They need bigger numbers of listeners to monetize against, as they are under extreme pressure to make their billion-dollar investments recover the money they have lost,” he informed TechNewsWorld.
Spotify has made some high-profile offers in recent times, together with a US$200 million multi-year unique pact with podcaster Joe Rogan, $196 million for the Ringer sports activities and popular culture website, and $56 million for the Parcast manufacturing firm, identified for its true crime podcasts.
While Spotify is out entrance with its translation device now, its lead might fizzle quick. “This is not just going to be Spotify’s technology,” Curran cautioned, “Spotify is the first, big creator platform to do this, but it’s going to be a short time until we see this on platforms like YouTube.”
Potentially Dangerous Technology
Despite the advantages of Spotify’s new translation device, its underlying expertise has a darkish aspect, too.
“The technology can be quite dangerous and potentially exploitative,” Sterling mentioned. “It’s already being used in frauds and scams. And there are unauthorized uses of celebrity voice clones already happening in audiobook recordings.”
“It needs to be used with caution and in every case with the subject’s permission,” he continued. “But the power imbalance between platforms and individuals on them may not generate equitable use cases of voice AI. There need to be clear, ethical guidelines in place.”
“This is one of the issues in the still-unsettled actor’s strike. Do the studios have a right to exploit an actor’s voice and image in perpetuity without permission?” he added.
Dubey identified that the interpretation device may very well be topic to that bane of AI purposes: hallucinations.
“This could happen if the podcaster were to use a phrase that didn’t really have an equivalent phrase in the language being translated,” he defined.
“For example,” he continued, “the German term ‘schadenfreude’ doesn’t really have a strict translation in most languages, so an AI that is relying solely on a large language model could end up hallucinating the translation and putting words in the podcasters mouth.”
Execution Key to Success
Translations might create authorized issues for podcasters, too.
“If the AI technology fails to provide an accurate translation of a podcast creator’s content, the podcast creator could face legal consequences, such as defamation or FTC violations,” famous Alyssa J Devine, CEO and founding father of Purple Fox Legal, a legislation agency with a concentrate on mental property legislation for entrepreneurs and creatives, in Nashville, Tenn.
“The appropriate jurisdiction and venue for such claims would depend on the facts of a specific situation, but it is not unheard of for a plaintiff in one country to obtain a judgment against a defendant in another county,” she informed TechNewsWorld.
Execution will likely be a key to success for Voice Translation, Cochrane maintained.
“If Spotify does not execute this well, it could do the opposite and hurt all podcast content across the platform and turn those non-English native listeners off to the content,” he mentioned. “It’s a real risk if it sounds synthetic and without inflection.”
Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst of SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif., and in addition a podcaster, defined that translating podcasts could be difficult.
“When you translate things into different languages, everything said in one language can’t be cleanly translated into another,” he mentioned.
“If the accuracy of the translation isn’t very good, that’s going to be a problem,” he continued. “There’s also going to be a problem with cleaning up some of the artifacts of a podcast — the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and awkward gaps.”
“I’m very skeptical of how effective this will be,” he asserted.