Text-to-Speech Software – How I do my research

Now you may be wondering, how do I know so much about health and nutrition? Where do I find all of the free time to do all of this reading and research if I have a day-job as a computer programmer? Well, the answer lays in Text-to-Speech software. You see, as a computer programmer, I find it very easy and convenient to have my headphones on while I code. When a programmer is in the “zone” having their headphones on and listening to music often helps them do a better job. Well, not for me, I have Text-to-Speech software and I listen to health articles and research papers while I work. It is this that has allowed me to consume hundreds of articles all while doing my regular work.

Of course, since I am very adept with my computer skills, I have also written several Python scripts that extract article text from newsletters. Additionally, if I download a research paper, I open the PDF in Adobe Reader and use the “Save as Text” option. Then I use my knowledge of regular expressions, an advanced programming concept to remove all headers and footers, along with long urls to make my listening experience more efficient.

I will list out a few of the applications which I have sampled and continue to use here:

TextAloud

  • http://www.nextup.com/TextAloud/
  • Cost: $29.95
  • Voice Prices: $35 each
  • My Favorite Voice: British English Peter (by Acapela)
  • Sample: http://ttsdownload.com/acapelasamples/Peter.wav

I purchased a license to the TextAloud system because it supports many foreign languages including Greek. I like to listen to articles all of the time and sometimes I come across an article that is published in a Greek newspaper. The voice of “Dimitris” costs $45 and is worth the price.

IVONA Reader

This is my favorite text-to-speech application. It has a nice voice – “Salli” and can export many documents to mp3 and other formats. IVONA Reader can also read a pdf document to you as well.  They offer many bundles and options, but all you really need is the cheapest edition that comes with the Salli voice.  Don’t worry about missing out on all the other voices, all you need is one really good voice.

Cepstral

The first text-to-speech application that I purchased and was able to install onto my work computer before I got my Administrative rights restored. Give this application a try if you do not have Administrative rights on the computer you are using.  

 Compatibility

All three applications should work on Windows XP and Windows 7 and are suitable for the workplace.

If you want to laugh a little… I initially started researching Text-to-Speech software about a year and a half ago when I was handed a 150-page document which contained an “abridged” version of the Dodd-Frank legislation and was told that this was my “design document” for implementing a portion of a Swap-Execution Facility. So I said… why not listen to it while I scan through the document myself? And after a month… I found the best Text-to-Speech applications listed above.

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