Firstly, apologies for the prolonged bloggio silence. My social media obligations have suffered lately due to so many more immediate demands on my time, such as work and interstate visitors 🙂
With my next writing deadline fast approaching, I’m deep into editing “A Life Singular – Part Three”, which I have commenced through the wholly unarduous, “traditional” method of creating an e-book and lying on the couch pretending to be a real reader. Yet today I am unveiling a new editing tool which I hope will assist other authors to steady their voice and identify those annoyingly evasive typos: Text-to-Speech translating software. I wasted a few hours yesterday playing with trial versions of Verbose (http://www.nch.com.au/verbose/) and Natural Reader (http://www.naturalreaders.com/), switching between the available voices and accents. Hours of fun!
There’s not much to choose between these two products, but I ended up purchasing Natural Reader (US$69.99) because its British accents sounded less silver-spoon. It goes without saying that neither product offers an Australian male or female voice, and since my books are set predominately in Melbourne, I have gone for Peter and Rachel as the closest to Aussie accents I could find 🙂
To use these products, simply load your Word document or .PDF into the program, pick a male or female voice and press play. The algorithms are much more intelligent than they were even last year, and clever intonation gives you great feedback as to whether your phrasing and punctuation will give the reader the right cues. The voice “learns” as you go over the same paragraph a couple of times, and it’s worth selecting the words they regularly mispronounce and adding a phonetic spelling into their vocabulary. This works particularly well for unusual names and abbreviations.
Needless to say, the novelty of having my own book read to me kept me awake until 2 in the morning, but this is such a great addition to my editing toolset that I just had to write about it 🙂