Thanks to The Digital Reader, I read the post by Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books that detailed how he uses the text-to-speech (TTS) function on his Kindle as a proofreading aid for his writing. I don’t have a Kindle, so I wondered if I could do the same with Microsoft Word, and after a quick search, I found the helpful instructions that got me on my way. I used the same method to activate the function in OneNote, which is my favorite writing program. Play around with the speed settings and find the right speed for your reader. I needed to adjust mine, as she was reading too fast, and it caused some words to run together.
Hearing your words spoken, even by a computer voice, can help you find errors your own voice or eyes may have missed. When a writer reads their own work, it is easy to overlook misplaced or missing words. Our eyes can easily deceive us, since our brains want to supply the words we had intended. Our ears are much more reliable. I love having more tools to help me edit and proofread my work.
Here are a few other sources I found that you may find interesting.
NaturalReader is a program that offers a free “cut and paste” and type reader with two male voices and three female voices (limits you to 200 words). They also have a free version you can download in addition to the other packages available for purchase.
Another free program is YakiToMe! that touts it is the world’s leading unrestricted, free text-to-speech (TTS) website. You can “cut and paste” and type your text into the provided box, or upload a file, including a PDF. I typed in a simple sentence and enjoyed the robust reading and clear voice that read my words back to me.
Happy editing! Feel free to share any TTS programs that you use.