If you are a Harry Potter fan, you may have heard of Jim Dale. The veteran actor-singer-composer is the narrator of all seven Harry Potter audio books, recorded between 1999 and 2007. The narration is longish — 117 hours and four minutes, in total. However, the time taken to record this was disproportionately more. Dale had to record some bits several times owing to mispronunciation, page flipping noise, using the wrong voice for a character or just skipping a line accidentally.
So, what other option do we have? Recording the entire book in a single take might not be humanly possible, but what humans cannot, machines can. Imagine if Dale could simply upload his voice samples, and a machine then clones his voice — complete with every pause, pronunciation and pitch — and automatically reproduces high-quality audio content. It would save everyone so much time.
Thankfully, this needs no magic, the solution has been created by Delhi-based start-up, Deepsync Technologies. Founded in December 2018 by Ishan Sharma and Rishikesh Kumar, the start-up uses deep learning and voice synthesis for ‘voice-cloning’, autonomously. Kumar, who doubles up as CTO, says that their high-quality .wav file is 10x cheaper than human production, as it eliminates the need for a studio and the process is 90% faster.
The duo seems to have set foot in a booming industry. A report by MarketsandMarkets states that the global voice-cloning market is expected to grow from $456 million in 2018 to $1,739 million by 2023 (See: Loud and clear). Sajan Paul, managing director and country manager for India and SAARC at Juniper Networks, says that AI and ML technologies, and our access to unlimited computing power have “dramatically” increased our ability to create multimedia content with “near realism”.
With the boom in audio and video production, there is a demand for audio content in several languages, says Sachin Unni, investor and partner at Hong Kong-based accelerator Zeroth AI. Deepsync, which clones English as of now, is looking to add Indian language support in the coming months. It is among the eight Indian start-ups that are part of Zeroth AI’s first-ever accelerator programme in India. The other ventures backed by Zeroth also deal with AI-po