Text to Speech Software
Text-to-Speech software allows you to have written text read out loud. Text-to-speech software can offer the following features:
- Convert files such was Word and PDF files into spoken words
- Listen to your emails and web pages
- Convert text to audio files such as MP3 or WAV files to transfer to your portable listening device.
- Include a floating bar or tool bar to assist with reading text in applications
- Integrated with scanning and reading or optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert printed text into voice.
Text-to-speech software is often used by individuals who need or prefer to hear their text. The potential uses of this software include:
- Assist with proofing/editing written work
- Assist with time management by increasing productivity
- Maximize your time while travelling
Text to Speech software is different from Screen Reading technology in that it does not read any system information (such as file structure or alt boxes). Some manufacturers of Text-to-Speech software are now also offering online text-to-speech services that allow you to send files to be converted into speech.
Points to Ponder
Questions to ask when considering text to speech software
- Is it compatible with your computer's platform?
- What file formats does it support? E.g., DOC, PPT, PDF, Daisy, TXT, etc.
- Does it read the Internet?
- Does it read the text in the original application?
- Can it scan from a printed page (optical character recognition)?
- Does it support additional languages?
- Can it convert text to audio files, such as .wav or .mp3 formats for later listening?
- Can the reading voice be adjusted?
- Do you need access to multiple computer systems with text-to-speech software available on it? If so, consider whether the text-to-speech software is available on a USB key.
- Does it have a user-friendly toolbar?
Manufacturers of Text-To-Speech Software
SNOW does not endorse any of the following software/hardware. These links are provided for information purposes only.
1SpeechSoft – Power Text to Speech Reader (Windows)
Claro Software – ClaroRead (Windows and Mac)
ConvienceWare – GhostReader (Mac)
Don Johnston – Read:Outloud (Windows and Mac)
iSpeech Inc. – iSpeech Text to Speech Premium and Plus
NaturalSoft Ltd. – NaturalReader Personal (Windows and Mac), Natural Reader Professional, Ultimate and Developer versions (Windows), Natural Reader for Education Silver, Gold and Platinum versions (Windows)
NCH Software – Verbose Text to Speech Software (Windows)
NextUp Technologies – TextAloud (Windows)
Panopreter - Panopreter Plus (Windows)
Texthelp Systems – Read&Write, Read&Write GOLD (Windows and Mac)
TTS Master Team – Text to Speech Master (Windows)
Xrlly Software – Text to Speech Maker (Windows)
Free / Open Source Software
Balabolka from Cross+A (Windows)
iSpeech Text to Speech Basic by iSpeech Inc.
eSpeak from SourceForge (Windows and Linux)
HELP Read by Hawaii Education Literacy Project (Windows)
NaturalReader Free Version by NaturalSoft Ltd. (Windows and Mac)
Panopreter Basic by Panopreter (Windows)
TypeIt ReadIt from SchoolFreeware (Windows and Mac)
WordTalk by CALL Scotland (Windows)
1. Text - to-Speech Software is used to create an audio version of standard text such as text from a Word processing file or website and this provides an alternative format to communicate and share information and educational resources.
2. People interact, learn and communicate in diverse ways. Learning opportunities are increased when flexible ways of engaging with learning materials are provided. Considering how people communicate is important for knowledge to be exchanged. Alternative formats take into account diverse ways of exchanging information.
3. The AODA legislates that educational institutions and its employees know how to produce accessible or conversion ready versions of textbooks and printed material and be knowledgeable at interacting and communicating with people with disabilities who may use alternate formats and devices. All website and web content must meet accessibility standards and support alternative ways to convey information.