TextAloud

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Description

Work on a computer often involves reading or proof-reading texts which can get tedious with eye strain looking into a digital screen. Furthermore, multi-tasking is not really an option when eyes are set on the screen either. Converting the text to be read into speech helps in not only reducing eyestrain but also enables to multi-task easily while listening to the text. Further often hearing texts make it easier for proof-reading rather than reading it. But there are additional problems associated with text to speech conversion including the voice and pronunciation. For such problems TextAloud is a handy solution.

Features

The user interface for TextAloud features a menu driven, tabbed interface for managing multiple documents. The controls include voice, speed, bookmarks, and navigation. The voices provided are premium with standard AT&T natural voices along with Acapela and Nuance RealSpeak Voices. Highlighting options include primary for text and secondary for current running commentary with masking to hide unimportant regions of text. There is built-in drag and drop support for wide file types. Clipboard support includes the ability to detect text being copied to clipboard and read it out aloud. Similar is mouse pointer support i.e. when a text is selected with mouse, options to speech conversion are given. Hotkeys have been improved with custom hotkey mappings. There are also plugins available for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Microsoft Outlook and also Windows Mail including toolbar support for highlighting. It can also integrate with Windows Explorer, which enables “Open with TextAloud” option in context menu.

Additionally, document support includes DOCX, DOC, RTF, TXT, WPD, ODT, HTML and XML. It also has dictionary lookup for words and spell check built-in along with pronunciation editor to create voice level phoneme corrections. Proofreading modes include “Vocal proofreading” and “Step proofreading” both. The audio generated can be saved in any audio encoding format with appropriate custom encoders along with audio tags i.e. ID3V2 tags. Tags can be inserted in any document for voice tone, pauses, embedding audio clips, automatic audio file split and comments which can be made silent. Characters can be grouped and their audio can be added too with automatic actions. The software is available on Windows XP/Vista/7 as well as 8 and all latest versions of Windows OS.

Comparison

There are numerous alternatives to TextAloud on Windows OS, which includes Balabolka, which can read anything on screen and save it in various audio formats. eSpeak and SpeakIt! are both cross platform TTS clients available across Windows, Mac, and Linux. TTSReader is another freeware available for Windows but does not feature the premium voices available with TextAloud.

Conclusion

TextAloud is an excellent software for text-to-speech conversion, supports wide formats with lots of customization and features premium voices for better audio experience.

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