- A partnership with OpenAI will let Spotify podcasters replicate their voices to automatically create foreign-language versions of their shows.
- Goals include expanding podcast accessibility and connections between creators and global audiences.
- Translated episodes are rolling out on Spotify’s Now Playing screen starting September 25th.
Spotify is piloting an AI-powered voice translation capability that converts podcast episodes into other languages while retaining the host’s unique vocal style. The new feature aims to expand podcast accessibility across borders through localized content.
Spotify Uses OpenAI Technology to Match Hosts’ Delivery
The streaming giant worked with a small group of top podcasters to test out AI-generated voice translations. Participating shows include Armchair Expert, The Diary of a CEO, and The Bill Simmons Podcast.
“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,” Ziad Sultan, Spotify’s VP of personalization, said in a statement. “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.”
Spotify utilized OpenAI’s latest voice generation model to recreate translations sounding as natural as possible. The goal is maintaining hosts’ authentic style rather than standard dubbing.
Spanish, French and German Translations Rolling Out to Users
Starting Monday, September 25, users can enjoy these translated episodes within the ‘Now Playing’ view. Initially available in Spanish, translations in French and German will follow in the upcoming weeks, extending the reach of these podcasts.
Spotify believes thoughtful AI implementation can forge deeper connections between creators and listeners worldwide. Seamlessly crossing language barriers represents a huge opportunity in podcasting.
According to Spotify, it has more than 100 million podcast listeners globally and more than 5 million podcast titles available in 170-plus markets. The company was the largest U.S. podcast network based on reach from Q4 2022 to Q2 2023, according to Edison Research.
Despite recent layoffs in its podcast division, Spotify plans to focus more on strategic creator partnerships and owned exclusives. The translation pilot supports increasing global listenership.
Massive Opportunity to Draw International Audiences
While still early stage, Spotify’s voice translation technology demonstrates massive promise to unlock original podcasts for non-native audiences.
Smoothly adapting shows into other tongues could significantly expand listenership in untapped international markets. It illustrates AI’s potential to bridge content gaps when thoughtfully implemented.
If translation quality reaches native fluency at scale, the podsphere could look very different in coming years as regional barriers dissipate. But for now, Spotify is taking a measured approach to balance innovation with responsible AI practices.