Sunday, September 13, 2009

Text to Speech (Web based)

For those of us who have enormous quantities of text to read, the dream of being able to convert documents to mp3s and then being able to listen to them on an ipod is a compelling one! Yes, there is software that will do this for you, and there are packages that have uncannily human sounding voices to choose from. But what about web-based applications? SpokenText is a handy little site that allow you to upload a document, or paste in some text and get an mp3 output file. Very handy. The voice quality is not "stellar" but depending on what you're planning to to with the audio file, it's actually not bad at all! I can imagine a scenario where you have a reading-challenged student who needs to have a paragraph read to him, or you would like to send a kid home with a practice file, or you want to create a listening station in your class. SpokenText will take English, French, Spanish and German text. It could be another great tool for your teaching toolbox! (NB: You will need to sign up to use the service - it's free for a demo - and your files are only kept for a day, so you'll need to download them right away. Each demo account is only good for 7 days and 6 recordings. If you like it, it's $30 a year for a "real" account.)

ReadTheWords is another site with similar limitations. (Although, you can only have 30 seconds max.) There is a wider choice of voices, including a female French option in addition to a male voice. I've uploaded 2 samples in the audio players below.

En fran├žais!!