Top Text To Speech Softwares

WHAT IS TEXT TO SPEECH SOFTWARE?

Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology. TTS can take words on a computer or other digital device and convert them into audio. TTS is very helpful for kids who struggle with reading, but it can also help kids with writing and editing, and even focusing.

Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology.

With a click of a button or the touch of a finger, TTS can take words on a computer or other digital device and convert them into audio. TTS is very helpful for kids who struggle with reading. But it can also help kids with writing and editing, and even focusing.

How text-to-speech works

TTS works with nearly every personal digital device, including computers, smartphones and tablets. All kinds of text files can be read aloud, including Word and Pages documents. Even online web pages can be read aloud.

The voice in TTS is computer-generated, and reading speed can usually be sped up or slowed down. Voice quality varies, but some voices sound human. There are even computer-generated voices that sound like children speaking.

Many TTS tools highlight words as they are read aloud. This allows kids to see text and hear it at the same time.

Some TTS tools also have a technology called optical character recognition (OCR). OCR allows TTS tools to read text aloud from images. For example, your child could take a photo of a street sign and have the words on the sign turned into audio.

TTS Benefits for End Users

Extend the reach of your content – TTS gives access to your content to a greater population, such as those with literacy difficulties, learning disabilities, reduced vision and those learning a language. It also opens doors to anyone else looking for easier ways to access digital content.

The best text-to-speech softwares  provides a simple solution to reading documents aloud, on either your desktop, tablet, or phone.

FEATURES OF TEXT TO SPEECH SOFTWARE

TTS allows users to see text and hear it read aloud simultaneously. There are many apps available, but typically as text appears on the screen, it’s spoken. Some software uses a computer-generated voice and others use a recorded human voice. Very often the user has a choice of gender and accent as well.

Tablets and smartphones usually have built-in text-to-speech features. The software reads text files, and the names of programs or folders when pointed at on the screen and can read certain web pages aloud.

 

Text-to-speech tools are often used with optical character recognition OCR is a technology that scans printed material into a computer or handheld unit and converts it to digital text. There are also portable OCR devices available. These are called reading pens and they can scan and read back text. Most digital devices include apps that read digital books.

TTS allows people to enjoy , and also provides an option for content consumption on the go, taking content away from the computer screen and into any environment that’s convenient for the consumer. For people with visual impairment, text to speech can be a very useful tool as well. For those who access content on mobile devices, reading a great deal of content on a small screen is not always easy. Having text-to-speech software doing the work is much easier. It allows people to get the information they want without the inconvenience of a lot of scrolling.

While text to speech has benefits for all users, some specific groups benefit more than others.

People with learning disabilities who have difficulty reading large amounts of text due to dyslexia or other problems really benefit from TTS, offering them an easier option for experiencing website content.

 

While traditionally this has been in the realm of professional dictation and  transcription services these days text-to-speech has become far more common and an ordinary feature of everyday life.

The use of audio for commands has especially become popular for use with assistants such as Alexa and Siri, which also allow for speech to text to be used, among other tools. It’s also becoming much more common for audio to be used to convert text-to-speech for a number of reasons.

The traditional one is for helping people with additional needs. However, as with audio assistants, users commonly find that audio can be much easier to work with. This is the case where multitasking is required, with audio allowing the user to also direct their attention on some other physical task.

This is especially highlighted by the rise of audiobooks, which allow the user to drive, walk, or otherwise engage in a physical activity that would preclude using a text-version as impractical.

Therefore it’s no wonder that text-to-speech and other voice software is becoming more commonly used, allowing the user to engage in other activities at the same time, whether it be walking, gardening, household chores, or similar.

Text-to-speech software is also popular in business environments, with people utilizing it to boost productivity especially when it comes to speech-to-text software.

Here we feature the best speech-to-text software, and additionally feature a number of free apps you can also consider using.

 


(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Amazon Polly

Best text-to-speech for developers

REASONS TO BUY

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Affordable

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Easy-to-use

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Supports multiple file types

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Multiple language options

Alexa isn’t the only artificial intelligence tool created by tech giant Amazon as it also offers an intelligent text-to-speech system called Amazon Polly. Employing advanced deep learning techniques, the software turns text into lifelike speech. Developers can use the software to create speech-enabled products and apps.

It sports an API that lets you easily integrate speech synthesis capabilities into ebooks, articles and other media. What’s great is that Polly is so easy to use. To get text converted into speech, you just have to send it through the API, and it’ll send an audio stream straight back to your application.

You can also store audio streams as MP3, Vorbis and PCM file formats, and there’s support for a range of international languages and dialects. These include British English, American English, Australian English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish and Russian.

Polly is available as an API on its own, as well as a feature of the AWS Management Console and command-line interface. In terms of pricing, you’re charged based on the number of text characters you convert into speech.

(Image credit: Murf)

2. Murf

Best for super-realistic voices

REASONS TO BUY

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Simple and easy to navigate dashboard

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Over 120 realistic AI voices in 20 languages

REASONS TO AVOID

Video editing could be more comprehensive

Specializing in voice synthesis technology, Murf uses AI to generate realistic voiceovers for a range of uses, from e-learning to corporate presentations.

Murf comes with a comprehensive suite of AI tools that are easy to use and straightforward to locate and access. There’s even a Voice Changer feature that allows you to record something before it is transformed into an AI-generated voice- perfect if you don’t think you have the right tone or accent for a piece of audio content but would rather not enlist the help of a voice actor. Other features include Voice Editing, Time Syncing, and a Grammar Assistant.

The solution comes with three pricing plans to choose from: Basic, Pro and Enterprise. The latter of these options may be pricey but some with added collaboration and account management features that larger companies may need access to.

(Image credit: Play.ht)

3. Play.ht

Best AI voice generator for podcaster

REASONS TO BUY

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Large voiceover library

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Export audio in various formats

REASONS TO AVOID

Non-English voices are of inconsistent quality

In terms of its library of voice options, it’s hard to beat Play.ht. With almost 600 AI-generated voices available in over 60 languages, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a voice to suit your needs.

Although the platform isn’t the easiest to use, there is a detailed video tutorial to help users if they encounter any difficulties. All the usual features are available, including Voice Generation and Audio Analytics.

In terms of pricing, Play.ht comes with four plans: Personal, Professional, Growth, and Business. These range widely in price, but it depends if you need things like commercial rights and affects the number of words you can generate each month.

(Image credit: NaturalReader)

4. NaturalReader

Best cloud-based text-to-speech

REASONS TO BUY

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Supports a range of files

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Wide file support

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Multilingual

If you’re looking for a cloud-based speech synthesis application, you should definitely check out NaturalReader. Aimed more at personal use, the solution allows you to convert written text such as Word and PDF documents, ebooks and web pages into human-like speech.

Because the software is underpinned by cloud technology, you’re able to access it from wherever you go via a smartphone, tablet or computer. And just like Capti Voice, you can upload documents from cloud storage lockers such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.

Currently, you can access 56 natural-sounding voices in nine different languages, including American English, British English, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. The software supports PDF, TXT, DOC(X), ODT, PNG, JPG, plus non-DRM EPUB files and much more, along with MP3 audio streams.

There are three different products: online, software, and commercial. Both the online and software products have a free tier.

(Image credit: Voice Dream)

5. Voice Dream Reader

Best mobile-optimized option

REASONS TO BUY

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36 built-in voices

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Multilingual

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Integration with cloud platforms

There are also plenty of great text-to-speech applications available for mobile devices, and Voice Dream Reader is an excellent example. It can convert documents, web articles and ebooks into natural-sounding speech.

The app comes with 186 built-in voices across 30 languages, including English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese and Korean.

You can get the software to read a list of articles while you drive, work or exercise, and there are auto-scrolling, full-screen and distraction-free modes to help you focus. Voice Dream Reader can be used with cloud solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote.


Best free text-to-speech apps:

Free text-to-speech software can be enormously helpful for anyone who’s visually impaired, or has a condition like dyslexia that makes reading on screens tricky. It can also help overcome language barriers for people who read a language but don’t speak it, or are in the process of learning.

Text-to-speech software is also ideal if you want to listen to a document while doing something else, if you find it easier to retain information you’ve heard, or if you want to sense-check something you’ve written.

Here’s our pick of the best free text-to-speech software for reading either individual paragraphs or whole documents aloud.

For ripping audio from videos, check out our guide to the best Youtube to mp3 conversion software.

(Image credit: Balabolka)

1. Balabolka

Free text-to-speech with customizable voices

REASONS TO BUY

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Excellent file format support

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Lots of voices to choose from

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Can create audio files

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Bookmarking tools

There are a couple of ways to use the Balabolka free text-to-speech software: you can either copy and paste text into the program, or you can open a number of supported file formats (including DOC, PDF, and HTML) in the program directly. In terms of output, you can use SAPI 4 complete with eight different voices to choose from, SAPI 5 with two, or the Microsoft Speech Platform. Whichever route you choose, you can adjust the speech, pitch and volume of playback to create a custom voice.

In addition to reading words aloud, this free text-to-speech software can also save narrations as audio files in a range of formats including MP3 and WAV. For lengthy documents, you can create bookmarks to make it easy to jump back to a specific location and there are excellent tools on hand to help you to customize the pronunciation of words to your liking.

With all these features to make life easier when reading text on a screen isn’t an option, Balabolka is best free text-to-speech software around.

(Image credit: NaturalReader)

2. Natural Reader Online Reader

Free text-to-speech software with web browser

REASONS TO BUY

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Built-in OCR

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Choice of interfaces

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Built-in browser

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Dyslexic-friendly font

The NaturalReader Online Reader is a free text-to-speech tool that can be used in a couple of ways. The first option is to load documents into its library and have them read aloud from there. This is a neat way to manage multiple files, and the number of supported file types is impressive, including ebook formats. There’s also OCR, which enables you to load up a photo or scan of text, and have it read to you.

The second option takes the form of a floating toolbar. In this mode, you can highlight text in any application and use the toolbar controls to start and customize text-to-speech. This means you can very easily use the feature in your web browser, word processor and a range of other programs. There’s also a built-in browser to convert web content to speech more easily.

(Image credit: Panopreter)

3. Panopreter Basic

Easy text-to-speech conversion, with WAV and MP3 output

REASONS TO BUY

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Quick and simple to use

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Exports in WAV and MP3 formats

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Good range of input formats

REASONS TO AVOID

For Windows only

As the name suggests, Panopreter Basic delivers free text-to-speech conversion without frills. It accepts plain and rich text files, web pages and Microsoft Word documents as input, and exports the resulting sound in both WAV and MP3 format (the two files are saved in the same location, with the same name).

The default settings work well for quick tasks, but spend a little time exploring Panopreter Basic’s Settings menu and you’ll find options to change the language, destination of saved audio files, and set custom interface colors. The software can even play a piece of music once it’s finished reading – a nice touch you won’t find in other free text-to-speech software.

If you need something more advanced, a premium version of Panopreter is available to buy, which offers several additional features including toolbars for Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer, the ability to highlight the section of text currently being read, and extra voices.

(Image credit: WordTalk)

4. WordTalk

An extension that adds text-to-speech to your word processor

REASONS TO BUY

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Integrates with Microsoft Word

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Customizable voices

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Speaking dictionary

REASONS TO AVOID

A little unattractive

Developed by the University of Edinburgh, WordTalk is a toolbar add-on for Word that brings customizable text-to-speech to Microsoft Word. It works with all editions of Word and is accessible via the toolbar or ribbon, depending on which version you’re using.

The toolbar itself is certainly not the most attractive you’ll ever see, appearing to have been designed by a child. Nor are all of the buttons’ functions very clear, but thankfully there’s a help file on hand to help.

There’s no getting away from the fact that WordTalk is fairly basic, but it does support SAPI 4 and SAPI 5 voices, and these can be tweaked to your liking. The ability to just read aloud individual words, sentences or paragraphs is a particularly nice touch. You also have the option of saving narrations, and there are a number of keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick and easy access to frequently used options.

(Image credit: Zabaware)

5. Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader

A great choice for converting text from websites to speech

REASONS TO BUY

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Converts text from the clipboard

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Good file format support

REASONS TO AVOID

Voices are quite expensive

Windows only

Despite its basic looks, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader has more to offer than you might first think. You can open numerous file formats directly in the program, or just copy and paste text.

Alternatively, as long as you have the program running and the relevant option enables, Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can read aloud any text you copy to the clipboard – great if you want to convert words from websites to speech – as well as dialog boxes that pop up. Zabaware Text-to-Speech Reader can also convert text files to WAV format.

Unfortunately, the selection of voices is limited, and the only settings you can customize are volume and speed unless you burrow deep into settings to fiddle with pronunciations. Additional voices are available for a fee which can seem a little steep compared to others on this list.

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