I have actually utilized text-to-speech programs in the past yet never ever as a device for editing. It wasn’t until a blogger discussed it in an online forum that I decided to give it a shot. So, first up, NaturalReader. The description from the developers:
“NaturalReader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod.”
This is a different type of review. Why? I’m also going to discuss the advantages of text-to-speech software applications instead of merely NaturalReader. Then I’ll get into the software application itself.
In another blog post, I asked Do Your Lips Move When You Edit? I’m discussing the technique of reading out loud. Numerous errors and funky phrasings appear when reviewing aloud, which do not take place when skimming or going through quietly. Now if you’re like me and attempt to review aloud, you might backslide into your quiet methods inadvertently. Other times, you might be so set on what you meant to read that you might ignore the actual words on the computer monitor.
That’s where software like NaturalReader enter the picture. The application reads precisely what on the monitor, not what you anticipate to see. I definitely adored it! I downloaded the trial version of NaturalReader and need to point out, it’s amazing in terms of enhancing my writing — not only as a result of the program itself, but rather instead because of the concept behind reading aloud.
Allow me to clarify. NaturalReader includes two default voices, a male voice and a feminine voice. I invested bulk of my time with the male one. I found he mispronounced numerous words, missed articles and various other words, (which I really thought was odd), and failed to stop at some punctuation marks (eclipses and em dashes). The program also failed to distinguish between the pronunciation of words such as “read” (pronounced red in lieu of reed), without regard to the use in the sentence. I didn’t spend as much time with the women voice, however her accent seemed much higher quality. Nevertheless, the exact same problems as far as incorrect pauses still existed with the female voice. Over all, neither one of the voices were very natural sounding in my point of view. However, if the user upgrades the program, she or he gets additional voices, plus the ability to produce rules, which will address a few of the issues (at least I presume).
Though I’ve not purchased it, the purchased version also features an add-in which allows NaturalReader to operate directly in MS Office Suite software, pdf files, e-mails, and various other digital software.
I can’t really say I give my thumbs up to NaturalReader at this point without attempting other text-to-speech software. Nevertheless, I absolutely recommend that authors give some type of text-to-speech software a try. It truly is amazing. As always, you don’t need to take my word on it. Attempt NaturalReader on your own.