AI cannot be trusted to do a good job. I make $500 an hour fixing their mistakes.

After working on thousands of projects, I understand how companies can be tempted to use AI voices for their commercials and content. It seems like a solution to save time and money. Unfortunately, in most cases the opposite is true.

In July 2021, I received my first request to fix a voice-over project where a company was trying to use artificial intelligence, but it didn’t sound right. It has become a regular part of my job and I receive up to four requests a month. Redoing what an AI voice couldn’t do takes a lot of time.

Depending on where a commercial voiceover will be used and the length of the piece, I can earn up to $1,500 for a project, which breaks down to about $500 an hour.

If I keep getting projects where I have to redo sloppy AI voice work, I’ll triple my voice-over rates. It requires much more time and effort than my traditional voice-over projects.

It took me about three years and $10,000 of training to perfect my business voice, and business reading styles change every few years. There is a nuance to dubbing performances. AI voices cannot be directed to keep up with you.

Typically, when creating a commercial, marketing teams record the voiceover first and then add the corresponding video. With AI voices, a video has already been produced, so I have to match the speed the AI ​​created and still make it sound good.

I’ve done a lot of political ads and the client always wants to include as many accomplishments about their candidate as possible in the allotted 30 seconds. It’s a lot of work to make sure I can say everything in time.

I learned to adjust my reading speed and tone to accommodate the number of words needed in 30 seconds. The AI ​​can’t vary its speed or sound natural if you try to speed it up to fit. An AI voiceover can easily turn into an irremediable disaster.

Another common AI mistake is not knowing what to emphasize. AI voices can deliver a casual, boring read that most marketers think will be fine, but they can’t change the tone or enthusiasm.

As a voice actor, I can’t correct the word that AI said wrong. The voices will not match. You have to throw out the whole thing and start over. When your goal was to save time and money, you lose in both areas.

There’s also a good chance that if you’re using an AI voice, it’s been stolen. AI voice data is trained on many voices of people who never gave permission.

Groups like NAVA (National Association of Voice Actors) are working to include a clause in voice-over contracts that says recordings created cannot be used to be sold as AI training data, but that doesn’t stop some tech companies from using whatever. can find.

While there is no precedent for unauthorized use of AI voice, Bette Midler and Tom Waits have received $400,000 and more than $2 million, respectively, for similar performances of their voices in commercials. Corporations should avoid using AI voiceovers if they want to ensure that the voices they use do not cause them legal problems in the future.

This year I started a company called Brand Voice Consulting that focuses on many aspects of marketing, including voiceover, because companies often don’t realize the important part of their campaign. You want your brand to seem authentic and voiceover is part of being able to do that.

I don’t think fixing AI voiceovers will be the majority of my work in the future. I expect companies to learn the issues pretty quickly after trying AI voiceovers.

Be careful if you think AI is the marketing miracle you were hoping for because you may be the next victim who has to hire me to fix your AI voiceover nightmare.

Bailey Varness is a marketing consultant, brand voice strategist, digital marketing speaker and voice expert.