Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Text to speech (and the inverse, in instances like Dragon Naturally Speaking) is a brilliant technology that can be used in a lot of different ways. Ever since Windows‘ Microsoft Sam, text to speech has been pretty accessible to your desktop commoner.
Speech to text is usually the more popular sister to this technology, but can text to speech actually be used for any real benefit? Surely you may not enjoy reading huge passages of text. It helps the visually impaired, too. I’ve laid text-to-speech tracks over top of my Winamp playlist before, to memorize and study certain things. That’s a technique that I continue to use to this very day.
Let me introduce you to five solutions if you’re interested in using text to speech in similar ways.
To begin the conversion process, you’ll want to click thelink across the top menu. From there, you can enter your text body (up to 2,000 words). You’ll also need to enter a valid email address, as they send the file as an attachment to your email.
As a web-savvy guy and active Internet marketer, let me suggest that you use a throwaway email account for receiving these recordings. I can’t say I’m too sure of what they use stored email accounts for, but asking for your age and location seems excessive and a little irrelevant. Take heed!
ABC2MP3 is one of the best converters I’ve found. You can select American or British accents and even choose the spoken words per minute.
Festvox is extremely fast and free. Right from the main page, you’re able to select one of four audio types and voices of either American, Spanish, Indian, Scottish, or British.
vozMe is just as quick as Festvox, but converts text to the MP3 format. No registration is required and you can immediately download and save your text to speech recordings. vozMe also supports conversion of the Spanish language.
SpokenText is by far the most extensive solution I’ve found. Though it requires account registration, it’s completely worth it.
After registering an account, you’ll want to log in and click “Create a new recording” from the Dashboard. From there you can convert an entire block of text, document, webpage, or email. You’re able to choose through many premium-quality voices and select the voice speed and volume. SpokenText also gives you the option to send an email to you when your recording has been processed (as there is a short queue).
All of your recordings are saved to your Dashboard, which is another big plus. The only downside to SpokenText is that there is a nagging advertisement for the website prefixed and appended to every recording you create. That can bloat a five-second clip to double its intended size, which is a little annoying.
More than just text to speech, Zamzar is one of the most feature-rich and functional conversion tools on the web. In our scenario, you’ll want to either convert your block of text to a TXT file and upload it, or enter a URL that you want to convert. From there, you’ll need to select one of the many file formats to convert it to. There are a lot of conversion types to look through, so choose what suits your situation best. You need to enter a valid email address, and within just a few minutes you should receive your recording.
I hope you guys are able to harness speech synthesis for some type of personal benefit. It’s helped me in a few situations and there should be a use in it for almost anyone. Share which website is your favorite and lets get together on some ideas in the comments.