Streaming giant Spotify has unveiled a new AI-powered voice translation tool that will automatically translate podcast episodes into other languages using the hosts' own voices. The pilot program, developed in partnership with OpenAI, aims to break down language barriers and expand podcasts' global reach.
Spotify's voice translation technology leverages OpenAI's new voice technology that can craft realistic synthetic voices from just a few seconds of real speech. This creates translated podcast episodes that sound more authentic and personalized than traditional dubbing or subtitling.
The tool matches distinct speech characteristics like cadence, tone, and inflection to replicate hosts' voices in other languages. Imagine an episode primarily recorded in English now being accessible to a global audience in Spanish, French, or German, all while preserving the characteristic essence of the podcaster's voice.
Spotify has initially worked with popular podcasters like Dax Shepard, Lex Fridman, and Steven Bartlett to produce translated episodes in languages including Spanish, French, and German. Their voice translations will soon be accessible in different languages for selected episodes from their catalogs. More shows and languages will be added over time.
The streaming platform said voice translation provides a more natural way for global audiences to connect with podcast hosts. "Voice Translation offers a novel pathway for global listeners to discover and resonate with new podcasters more authentically than ever," said Spotify's VP of Personalization, Ziad Sultan. He underscored the company's belief in AI's potential to foster profound connections, which is intrinsic to Spotify's commitment to harnessing human creativity.
Translated episodes will be available to both free and Premium Spotify users. The company is starting with a bundle of Spanish translations, with other languages being added shortly after.
Spotify positions the voice translation pilot as a milestone in its mission of empowering creator expression and building connections between talent and their worldwide fans. User reception to these AI-powered episodes will shape future refinements.
As Spotify continues expanding its podcast catalog across markets, innovations like voice translation could make the medium more accessible globally. The company said this launch represents its next step in "exploring new ways to overcome barriers to storytelling."