Spotify’s new AI language translations are like podcaster-approved deepfakes


By Sarah Bregel

There is no shortage of enjoyable podcasts to listen to while you’re commuting, hiking, or phoning it in at your lazy girl job. However, you can’t enjoy a podcast if you don’t speak (or at least, understand) the language it’s spoken in.

Now, the team at Spotify is working to change that, and it’s getting some help from a group of star podcasters, including Dax Shepard and Monica Padman of Armchair Expert, Lex Fridman and Steven Bartlett of The Diary of a CEO, and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons.

In an exciting move for many around the world, Spotify is testing AI-powered voice translators to make popular English-language podcasts available for non-English-speaking listeners. Right now, they’re only seeking to make a few select episodes available in other languages like Spanish, French, and German.

But it’s notable as language barriers pose a significant challenge for potential listeners. Currently, there are tools that can transcribe podcasts, which can then be translated into different languages and turned into audio files. However, Spotify’s new tool will make the process much simpler. The addition of voice-translated episodes also goes beyond voice-to-text technology, and because the translator will mimic the podcaster’s voice, it’s far more personal than dubbing, Spotify says.


“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.”

The select episodes in Spotify’s pilot program are now available in Spanish, and French and German translations will roll out on the platform in just a few weeks. The company hasn’t commented on how widely it will seek to use AI-based technology to translate episodes in the future.

Fast Company