Text to Speech software

Joy Weyer

16 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM  

Can anyone recommend a good "Text to Speech" software that you have used with Articulate?  We are looking for a software that sounds as close to a real voice as possible.

 

Thanks, Joy


This post has 10 verified answers

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User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM  

Verified Answer

I use Ivona for temporary voices during review periods. It's relatively inexpensive for personal use. For commercial use it's quite a bit more expensive ($700 last I checked). I'll be moving to the built in Mac voices for my temp work - triggering voice to file from terminal. These are slightly lower quality than Ivona or Loquendo. Loquendo is quite good.


 


Good voices are not cheap. Most of the best ones offer a "pay as you go" program. If you're looking for a good quality voice on the cheap for commercial purposes, I haven't found one yet. I haven't found an application of narration where I'd rather use a synthetic voice than a real one other than for scratch and review.



Joy Weyer

16 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM  

Verified Answer

Steve,

 

Thank you for your information and for your response. I really appreciate your help! Happy Wednesday!

 


Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Joy,

 

I use the free version of Natural Reader (http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.htm) as a secondary way to proofread my writing. Don't know anything about their pricing structure, but thought I'd at least throw it out there. Good luck!


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM  

Verified Answer

That's a great way to use TTS, Rebecca. I find it's so important to hear narrative to evaluate how well it works. I have used TTS programs this way as well but primarily use it to represent a draft of assembled narrative.


Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:50 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Steve,

 

Yes, it IS a good way to evaluate the narrative. And darn if I don't pick up a mistake that I didn't catch after several re-readings by "eye."


Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM  

Verified Answer

Of course, there's always the option of a real person voiceover by moi (shameless plug for myself!)

 

However, I do agree that TTS is great for reviewing.


April Edmonds

47 posts

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 7:54 AM  

Verified Answer

Nuance - Dragon Naturally speaking: Nuance Text-to-Speech technology that reads on-screen text in human-sounding synthesized speech. (http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/dragon-for-pc/home-version/index.htm)


Kristin Savko

227 posts

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM  

Verified Answer

We've used Ivona in the past as well. It actually sounds pretty good. Some voices are better than others. All in all not bad though. 


Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 8:54 AM  

Verified Answer

I'll throw in iSpeech's text to speech . In my opinion they have the most human sounding voices available, even a tad better than Ivona (although their Polish stuff is amazing). iSpeech offers quite a bit for free/very low fee. Might be just what you are looking for. They also offer some limited speech recognition should you ever need that. Their text to speech is top notch though. I used the service to turn my college reading into mp3s to listen to while cooking and similar when I couldn't read.


Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM  

Verified Answer

We use the text to speech in Captivate. They are pretty good. You will just need to give the pauses at the right places.

 


All Replies

User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM  

Verified Answer

I use Ivona for temporary voices during review periods. It's relatively inexpensive for personal use. For commercial use it's quite a bit more expensive ($700 last I checked). I'll be moving to the built in Mac voices for my temp work - triggering voice to file from terminal. These are slightly lower quality than Ivona or Loquendo. Loquendo is quite good.


 


Good voices are not cheap. Most of the best ones offer a "pay as you go" program. If you're looking for a good quality voice on the cheap for commercial purposes, I haven't found one yet. I haven't found an application of narration where I'd rather use a synthetic voice than a real one other than for scratch and review.



Joy Weyer

16 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM  

Verified Answer

Steve,

 

Thank you for your information and for your response. I really appreciate your help! Happy Wednesday!

 


Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:25 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Joy,

 

I use the free version of Natural Reader (http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.htm) as a secondary way to proofread my writing. Don't know anything about their pricing structure, but thought I'd at least throw it out there. Good luck!


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM  

Verified Answer

That's a great way to use TTS, Rebecca. I find it's so important to hear narrative to evaluate how well it works. I have used TTS programs this way as well but primarily use it to represent a draft of assembled narrative.


Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 3:50 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Steve,

 

Yes, it IS a good way to evaluate the narrative. And darn if I don't pick up a mistake that I didn't catch after several re-readings by "eye."


Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM  

Verified Answer

Of course, there's always the option of a real person voiceover by moi (shameless plug for myself!)

 

However, I do agree that TTS is great for reviewing.


April Edmonds

47 posts

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 7:54 AM  

Verified Answer

Nuance - Dragon Naturally speaking: Nuance Text-to-Speech technology that reads on-screen text in human-sounding synthesized speech. (http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/dragon-for-pc/home-version/index.htm)


Kristin Savko

227 posts

Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM  

Verified Answer

We've used Ivona in the past as well. It actually sounds pretty good. Some voices are better than others. All in all not bad though. 


Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 8:54 AM  

Verified Answer

I'll throw in iSpeech's text to speech . In my opinion they have the most human sounding voices available, even a tad better than Ivona (although their Polish stuff is amazing). iSpeech offers quite a bit for free/very low fee. Might be just what you are looking for. They also offer some limited speech recognition should you ever need that. Their text to speech is top notch though. I used the service to turn my college reading into mp3s to listen to while cooking and similar when I couldn't read.


Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM  

Verified Answer

We use the text to speech in Captivate. They are pretty good. You will just need to give the pauses at the right places.

 


Michael Case

5 posts

Posted Monday, July 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM  

Hello Joy,

 

 

I have found that no matter what TTS software or voice I use, there are far too many oddities in pronunciation to efficiently and cost effectively use one for narration. Besides, finding a professional narrator is easy, and depending on who you choose, it can be inexpensive as well.

 

Check out The Narrator Files. They price narration by the page, and they have exemplary voice talent.

 

Best!

 

Mike

 


1,777 posts

Posted Wednesday, October 03, 2012 at 8:42 AM  

Text Speaker works really well for me, gives great control over pronunciation and it works with just about every voice.  I prefer the Ivona voices since they have excellent human sound quality. Here is a page with Ivona and AT&T voices you can sample:
http://www.deskshare.com/text-to-speech-voices.aspx


Gnaneswar R

32 posts

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM  

Amazing suggestions from articulates enthusiasts that's why i love E-Learning Heroes


User Rank Brian Allen

1,284 posts

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:33 AM  

Wondering if anyone here has used the TTS built into Microsoft Office to narrate for elearning?  Wonder if there would be a way to record the narration and then use it in an elearning course...

 

@Steve, wondering if you're using the built-in Mac voices in a similar way?


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:42 AM  

I am. I've switched over entirely from other TTS programs to Mac voices. Pretty neat trick I use to batch each file using terminal. It takes a little bit to set up my transcript input files, I haven't automated that part yet. 

 

Basically, when the script is approved, I generate a .txt file for each bit of audio (on the plus side, I have found a way to use this as a transcript feeder). Then I setup a batch file for terminal to automatically generate the outputs. The batch template lines look something like this:

 

say -v lee -f /Users/sflowers/Desktop/Dropbox/projectname/production/scratch_audio_scenarios/s1_c1.txt -o /Users/sflowers/Desktop/Dropbox/projectname/production/scratch_audio_scenarios/s1_c1.aiff

 

Copying and pasting this line into terminal will grab the text file and output an audio file in the voice I've selected. Copying and pasting multiple lines will do it multiple times. It only fails if there's a funny character or the text file is missing. Easy to pick up by the file size of the output .aiff. All in all pretty fast. And really easy to update. Just update the .txt file and copy / paste the batch line into terminal.


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:44 AM  

Another cool trick. To grab the path of a file, drag a file from the folder you want to locate into the terminal window. Copy and paste that into your text editor and you've got your path without having to wrack your brain or fiddle with finder.


User Rank Brian Allen

1,284 posts

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:47 AM  

Sounds sweet, but I'm on a PC rather than a Mac...  going to dig into this a bit and see if there is something equivalent that could be done


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,144 posts

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:52 AM  

If you manage to get ahold of a Mac, download the voice "Samantha". It's a dead ringer for Siri.