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Home » A Translation Tool Driven by AI on Spotify Allows Podcasters to Speak in Multiple Languages

A Translation Tool Driven by AI on Spotify Allows Podcasters to Speak in Multiple Languages

by Digital Bull
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Spotify

By utilizing artificial intelligence, Spotify is providing its podcasters with access to foreign language markets.

This past Monday, the company unveiled a pilot program for podcasts called Voice Translation, which will translate a podcast into another language while maintaining the podcaster’s voice. With the use of OpenAI’s voice generation technology, Spotify has developed a new translation tool that can mimic the speech patterns of a speaker to produce a more authentic translation. Selected podcasts in Spanish, French, and German translations by Dax Shepard, Monica Padman, Lex Fridman, Bill Simmons, and Steven Bartlett will be included in the pilot program. Additionally, episodes of Trevor Noah’s upcoming new original podcast, which will launch later this year, and Dax Shepard’s “eff won with DRS” and “The Rewatchables” from The Ringer will be translated by Spotify in the future. According to a statement from Spotify Vice President of Personalization Ziad Sultan, “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 by matching the creator’s own voice.” He continued, “We think that a deliberate approach to AI can help create stronger bonds between listeners and creators, which is a crucial part of Spotify’s mission to unleash the creative potential of people.”

Spotify

There is a potential benefit for Spotify and podcasters from the new translation tool. According to Greg Sterling, co-founder of the news, commentary, and analysis website Near Media, “the Spotify proposal could extend the audience reach of these podcasts to new audiences and countries.” He told TechNewsWorld, “This could help Spotify and the podcaster by increasing audience reach.”

The analyst Rowan Curran of Forrester Research, a nationwide market research firm with its headquarters located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, noted that English podcasts translated into Mandarin and Hindi would have access to some very large markets they wouldn’t have access to if the podcaster didn’t speak those languages.

“TechNewsWorld was informed that this signifies a democratization of language AI capabilities.” “That’s in line with the trend of the past few years, where a very wide range of people can now access these really advanced functionalities.” The president and principal analyst of Bend, Oregon-based Enderle Group, an advisory services firm, Rob Enderle, noted that podcasters will not only be growing their listenership but also their bank account because the more ears their shows attract, the more money they may potentially make.

Spotify operates in a similar manner. He informed TechNewsWorld, “Each performer can generate more income; high performers will make the company much more money.”

Spotify
Young man podcasters wearing headphones recording podcasts from home studios. Radio, podcasts, blogging, and technology concepts.

The translation tool may benefit Spotify’s financial line, according to Ashu Dubey, co-founder and CEO of Pleasanton, California-based Gleen, a generative AI startup. He told TechNewsWorld, “If there is a popular podcast that is only available in English, this technology could expose that program to audiences in Japan or France, for example, and help Spotify sell more subscriptions in those countries.”

According to Todd Cochrane, CEO of Blubrry Podcasting, a podcast hosting and distribution company located in Traverse City, Michigan, Spotify needs to sell more subscriptions. He told TechNewsWorld, “They are under extreme pressure to make their billion-dollar investments recover the money they have lost, so they need bigger numbers of listeners to monetize against.” In the last few years, Spotify has struck a number of high-profile deals. These include a US$200 million, multi-year exclusive deal with podcaster Joe Rogan; $196 million for the sports and pop culture website Ringer; and $56 million for the Parcast production company, which is well-known for its true crime podcasts.

Although Spotify is currently leading the way with its translation tool, this advantage could quickly fade. Curran issued a warning, saying, “This is not going to be Spotify’s technology alone. Spotify is the first major creator platform to do this, but it will take some time before we see this on other platforms like YouTube.”

Spotify

Although Spotify’s new translation tool has many advantages, there is a drawback to the underlying technology.

According to Sterling, “the technology can be quite dangerous and potentially exploitative.” It’s already applied to scams and frauds. Additionally, there are already illicit uses of celebrity voice clones in audiobook recordings. He went on, “It must be used carefully and always with the subject’s consent.” However, there’s a chance that voice AI won’t find equitable applications due to the power disparity between users and platforms. Clear and moral rules must be established.

One of the unresolved issues in the ongoing actor’s strike is this. Does a studio have the right to use an actor’s voice and likeness forever without that actor’s consent? He continued. Hallucinations, the scourge of AI applications, could affect the translation tool, as Dubey noted.

According to him, this might occur if the podcaster used a phrase for which there wasn’t really an equivalent in the target language. According to him, an AI that relies only on a large language model may translate a German term called “schadenfreude” loosely into other languages, leading to instances where the podcaster ends up speaking words that are not actually translated.

Podcasters may encounter legal issues as a result of translations.

“A podcast creator may be subject to legal repercussions, including defamation or Federal Trade Commission violations if artificial intelligence technology is unable to accurately translate their content,” stated Alyssa J. Devine, CEO and founder of Purple Fox Legal, a Nashville, Tennessee-based legal practice that specializes in intellectual property law for creatives and entrepreneurs. She told TechNewsWorld, “It is not unheard of for a plaintiff in one country to obtain a judgment against a defendant in another county, but the appropriate jurisdiction and venue for such claims would depend on the facts of a specific situation.” According to Cochrane, voice translation will succeed or fail based on its execution.

He warned that “if Spotify does not do this well, it could do the opposite, hurt all podcast content across the platform, and turn those listeners who are not native English speakers off to the content.” “If it sounds artificial and lacks emotion, there’s a serious risk.” It’s not always easy to translate podcasts, as noted by podcaster and president of SmartTech Research in San Jose, California Mark N. Vena.

“Everything said in one language cannot be translated into another cleanly when things are translated into different languages,” he said. “There’s going to be an issue if the translation isn’t very accurate,” he said. “Clearing out some of the podcast artifacts, like the “us” and “ahs” and awkward gaps, will also be a challenge.” He declared, “I’m very skeptical of how effective this will be.”

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