In many cases it is easier to hear than to read. Hence, the audiobook and the slew of other products and ideas that take the written word and make it spoken.
Text to speech tools in fact are all over the internet, which has turned it into an easily recognizable technology (rather than something you’d probably only hear about at a Star Trek convention or a lecture about technology for the vision impaired).
In fact, some of the text-to-speech (TTS) tools out there are so simple and easy to use, they could almost be considered ‘fun’.
This post will list three of these: Hear PC, SayIt, and Text To Mp3, all of which are 100% free.
Hear PC is a nifty little program that has a single aim and purpose. Ah, if only organic, carbon-based life was so simple and direct. Hear PC will speak anything you type. That’s it. That’s all it does. There’s no interface to fiddle with, no settings to mess up and reset to default when the speakers make that horrible screeching noise. Not a jot of excess or extra will you find in Hear PC and that’s just fine with me. The lack of frills makes this the granola bar of TTS programs: simple and effective without being pretentious or wasting energy on non-essentials. It’s elegant, really, in a certain light. There’s an option to speak your words as well as display them in a separate pop up box, or just display without speaking, but that’s it.
If you need something a bit more complicated or sophisticated for your TTS needs, you may consider using something more like SayIt from AnalogX. SayIt is a bit more than just a window to type in and hear a computer voice. SayIt will give you more options than Hear PC, like changing pitch and cascade options of the reading voice, and which sound port to route the resulting preview sound through. It will also save the resulting sound as a .wav file, if you wish. I didn’t notice a particular limit to the box but once you have typed more than a sentence or two it becomes a bit cumbersome to navigate the text so it is best used for short conversions. It would be especially handy in creating a computer voice recording of .wav files for a video game, for example.
Finally, there’s the Classlesoft Text to Mp3 Converter. It will take a simple text document (preferably of the .txt variety) and turn it into an audio file (of the .mp3 flavor) that you can save, share, etc. to your heart’s content. This means you can send letters to your loved ones that have had eye surgery recently and can’t read again yet. It also means you can write letters to your blind grandfather whom you never call but you’d love for him to know you’re thinking of him. It’s got some potential for amusement too, but I will leave that function to other imaginations besides my own.
Until next time, my friends!