Monday, November 29, 2021

Disney partners with TikTok for official text-to-speech voices from Stitch, Chewbacca, Rocket Raccoon, and more

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Disney is teaming up with TikTok to add official character voices to the popular social media app’s text-to-speech feature, allowing you to have your captions read by Lilo and Stitch’s Stitch, C-3PO, Chewbacca, a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy. The new character voices are rolling out in the app today as part of the Disney Plus Day promotional holiday celebrating the two-year anniversary of the service.

Using the voices works similarly to the regular text-to-speech voices on TikTok; after recording a video, tap the text button on the screen, and type whatever you’d like the text-to-speech voice to read. Then, tap the text-to-speech button (it looks like a head with sound waves coming out of it) to select a voice. But instead of just seeing the usual milquetoast Siri-like presets that TikTok usually offers (the company has five different ones now, after a lawsuit over the original text-to-speech voice earlier this year), you’ll see — at least in theory — the new Disney voices.

I say in theory because as part of the promotion, you’ll have to unlock the new Disney voices first by using specific keywords. When I tried it out, I only had the Rocket voice unlocked, but presumably intrepid Disney fans on the internet will figure out how to unlock the other voices quickly.

The Disney collaboration isn’t the first time that TikTok has offered promotional text-to-speech voices: the app previously teamed up with Paramount to add a Scream-themed voice that sounded like the villainous Ghostface to coincide with the trailer for the upcoming horror film.

Disney and TikTok haven’t said how long the new character text-to-speech voices will be available. Fortunately, though, there is literally no way that giving TikTok creators the power to make C-3PO say anything will backfire in any way as the new text-to-speech voices get used solely in a mature and appropriate fashion.

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