Text To Speech Proofing

NOTE: This is a personal opinion and NOT a paid endorsement!

The topic in the Writers Support Group I’m part of at Sparkpeople was about proofing. It asked the question:

Do you read your manuscript aloud to yourself? Do you record it and listen?

I hadn’t thought about this at all. But it caught my interest. What would my written words (in the form of my current WIP) sound like when read out loud? Could hearing those words help with my writing? Some read it out loud to themselves, some to a critique group. Some use a tape recorder then listen to the playback.

One friend noted that there are programs online that can read your story to you. Some even have a free version. So…I decide to try one of them out. It was recommended that I try NaturalReader 14. I downloaded the free version and have spent time this week trying it out. My verdict?

So far I’m loving this program! I’m running Santa Baby through it and it’s been so helpful. In listening to it read Santa Baby back to me, I’ve caught missed words, places where my dialog was stiff, and even a big time line problem with three chapters! On the fun side is just what a kick it is to hear MY words telling a story!

The free version comes with one default voice but you can download one other voice. You can change the pacing (speed) of the reading. You can stop the reading and make on the fly corrections and fixes than save it. You can skip back to re-listen to something. It reads Web pages, Word docs, PDFs. Note that this will only read. If you want to dictate, NaturalReader can’t do that. You’ll need a program like Dragon 13.

There is a few paid options (with a paid version you can record and save the reading) for the software and I might consider getting one of those at a later date. For now I’m going with the free one.

NaturalReader – Text to Speech