Basic text-to-speech ( TTS ) capabilities come with the OS X operating systems and can be used to have the computer read text aloud. There are several 3rd-party applications available for free and for sale that provide TTS.
For Windows 10, there are:
- Natural Reader,
- and WordQ (amongst others).
In the Chromebook environment, a 3rd-party extension called "Read & Write", can be purchased (see note below).
It is recommended to try out the features that come with the computer or free apps before spending money on a 3rd-party application or extension as you may be satisfied with those freely available options.
How is TTS helpful?
Text-to-speech allows the user to select a body of text on the screen and then have the computer read that text out loud. The voice, rate of speech, and in some cases, inflection, can all be customised by the user.
Any text that can be "selected" on your computer can be read aloud with TTS (PDFs, word processor documents, webpages, etc.).
For users that have difficulties while reading but have good auditory comprehension, TTS provides access to content they would otherwise have difficulty with.
Questions to keep in mind when listening to the text during the revision stage of the writing process:
- Does this text say what I intended?
- Are any ideas missing that I may need to add?
- Are there any words missing?
It is best to select text in small chunks at first, a sentence, or at most a paragraph, to be read aloud in one instance.
Some text-to-speech engines require internet in order to function. Chromebooks and tablets tend to work this way. Internet access is not allowed during MEES exams. Special authorization from the MEES is required in order for a student to use TTS with internet access.
Balabolka TTS for PC info (PDF): Download
Natural Reader TTS for PC (PDF): Download
TTS OS X (PDF): Download