Automated voiceover for testing

I have a project that I'm going to send away for professional voiceover but I would love to be able to polish my course up first and get the feel/flow/timing of it before sending it off. I would like to have raw audio for testing. I've recorded it myself in the past to serve the same purpose but the time requirement for doing it for this project would be immense--I simply don't have that kinda time. Can anyone suggest a program/utility that I can copy/paste text into and save an mp3 from OR feed an entire Word doc into for recording? I'm willing to pay but free is also good.

11 Replies
Dragos Ciobanu

Hi, Jason

Last time I played with this I did a head-to-head of the Adobe Captivate and Dragon Naturally Speaking built-in voices. They sounded ok two years ago and Dragon sounds even better now (but you do have to pay for them). Therefore, if you are after free solutions, how about using SpeakIt? https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/speakit/pgeolalilifpodheeocdmbhehgnkkbak/related?hl=en

It's a Chrome add-in and you could turn your text into HTML and ask SpeakIt to speak it back to you. For even more convenience both Windows and Apple have built-in text-to-speech, as well as the reverse, and you could go into the accessibility features of your OS to enable them, then start Audacity or whatever audio tool you are using in order to record the Line-in stream. Presto, you'll have a audio file to test with (won't be nearly as good as a professional voice-over artist, but may give an idea of what content goes on forever, is ambiguous, and so on).

Hope this helps

Jason Johnson

Thanks for the feedback. I contacted Dragon and they said they only do speech-to-text, not text-to-speech for mp3. Also, the Chrome plug-ins only seem to work in the browser--not with docs or copy/paste text. Am I missing something? I don't mind paying but frankly, I don't see a tool that really does that in your list or anywhere else. I don't think Captivate has a "save as mp3" option either.

OWEN HOLT

Believe it or not, you can use google translate to generate audio files from text for free.

1) Type or paste the text into the translation window. (Note: you don't need to actually translate the text to another language.)

2) Click the listen button in the window where the "to be translated" text sits.

3) Look in your browser window cookies folder for the mp3 file google just created to play back your text.

4) Move and rename the file so you can find it later.

This works for me as long as I am outside of my company's firewall (which blocks the audio cookie).

The dowside is, you can't select your voice. The upside is it is quick, easy, and free.

If you need more info, I have a screenr I recorded some time ago: https://player.vimeo.com/video/204928666

Holly MacDonald
Steve Flowers

Here's one I really like for generating audio. http://www.vocalware.com

Relatively affordable with great quality. The downside, it requires some technical savvy to pull together. Hoping they are able to float this service for awhile. I really like the potential.

I'm considering putting together an e-learning planning / storyboard tool in the cloud. Something like the service / api above could auto generate scratch audio.

Steve Flowers

Hi Melissa - 

The audio is returned as MP3. When playing with the direct API generation, I was able to save as MP3. This method would be really inconvenient for large batches. With some PHP magic, I think you'd probably have really good luck generating MP3's to a folder. Haven't played with batching large numbers of files in the API. 

Built up a batch method for using Mac to generate audio from terminal.