We live in a time of speed. Moving so quickly from one activity to another, running errands, grocery shopping, taking the kids to practice, trying to squeeze in a workout here and there, and then on top of that we have to find time to sit and read? Even the few moments of peace where reading might be an option are oftentimes riddled with distractions.
Text to speech technology alleviates that burden. Using assistive technology to digitally read aloud text on a device, text to speech creates a streamlined way of absorbing information. Not only is text to speech a huge time saver for those constantly on the move, but it is a learning tool for those who might have a harder time reading on devices, like people with a learning disability or the vision impaired.
Where did text to speech come from?
The history of text to speech, or speech synthesis, dates as far back as the early 1700’s when the German-Danish scientist Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein won a price for developing a model that could emulate the human vocal pronunciation of the five vowel sounds (A,E,I,O,U).
The first computer-based speech-synthesis system originated in the 1950s but it wasn’t until 1961 when physicist John Larry Kelly Jr. and his colleague Louis Gerstman used an IBM 704 computer to synthesis speech that the popularization really began.
What to look for in your text to speech technology
The way text to speech works is through a powerful database of stored recorded pieces of information. The system takes these bits of language and converts it to a full reading.
What can make a break a good text to speech technology though? The ease of listening. When you choose the text to speech, you expect the output to be natural-sounding, intelligible, and in a dialect you best understand.
Taking the time to find the right program can be make or break for your experience with text to speech. While some devices and sites come with built-in text to speech software, those are not always the best for comprehension.
If you are someone who is using text to speech as a replacement for reading, and you need it to learn, it’s best to do your research and find a program that suits your specific qualifications. Being picky about voice, pronunciation, tone, and more will make your experience with the programs much better and will likely result in a better learning environment.
Choose the program that fits your needs
Text to speech technology nowadays has come a long way from the robot voices of the 1960s. Programs offer an extremely wide array of voice options, languages, and dialects. Some sites offer even more benefits to membership like SSML support which allows you to customize and control aspects of speech like pronunciation, volume, and speech rate.
The output quality of a text to speech software can make or break user experience, so make sure to do your research thoroughly when choosing what program is right for you.