Text to Speech Best Practices for Internal and Public Alerts

Sometimes, text to speech can be confusing. This article talks about best practices to make sure your alerts are easy to understand.

Text-to-Speech is rendered, or performed, by a computer. To get the best quality text-to-speech conversion, it helps to know some basic best practices for message creation.

Listen to your message several times if necessary to ensure clarity using Preview Voice. Insert the phone number you want to receive the phone call exactly as your recipients would hear.

IMPORTANT – Punctuation and spelling have the most significant impact on any text-to-speech conversion.

IMPORTANT – Always use the Preview Voice feature to listen to and improve your message prior to sending.

  • ALWAYS include an introduction at the beginning of your message and a conclusion at the end. This gives authority to your message.

Example: Beginning - “This message is from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.” End - "This concludes this message from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office."

  • Use complete sentences. Use a single space to separate words. To end a sentence, use a period, question mark or exclamation point followed by one space.
  • Use clear, short sentences that are well-formed.
  • Avoid abbreviations if possible.

Example: Height: Instead of 5’10”, type 5 feet 10 inches or 5 ft. 10 in.

Time: If you need to include a time, format 3:00pm or 3pm, not 3:00

  • Use correct spelling, unless you are doing it for phonetic reasons.
  • Use extra spaces, commas, and semicolons to slow down the message or create pause between words or letters (such as license plate numbers or phone numbers).

Example: H C 9 3 7 5 or H,C,9,3,7,5

  • Use commas and spaces to ensure website addresses are pronounced correctly.

www.alertsense.com looks like w w w dot alert sense dot com

or to include pauses w,w,w,dot,alert.sense,dot,com

  • Some proper names, places, cities, states or locations might be mispronounced, or may be pronounced differently in your area than how the computer does it. In those instances, you may need to insert a phonetic spelling instead.


In the town of Bellefontaine, Ohio, for instance, the locals say it as BELL-FOWN-TIN, not BELLY-FON-TANE or Owyhee would be O Y hee.

  • Phone numbers should be typed with a 10-digit format, including parentheses or dashes. This way, the number is read properly.  

(208) 639-6770 or separate such as 208-639-6770

  • 911 needs to be spaced out as 9 1 1 with spaces between each number.

Other Suggestions

  • This process can be made easier by creating pre-defined Templates for common emergencies or notifications that contain the main parts of the message, requiring a small customization, based on the incident, before they are sent.