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by Peter Moskos

December 29, 2010

Text-to-voice software

If you're not a writer or a computer nerd, just skip this. Really.

I'm editing my book (and being doing so for a long while). It's very near done and still a very slow process.

About six hours ago, I bought a text-to-speech program online for $50 (NaturalSoft, for what it's worth. I have no idea if there are better ones). Honestly, it doesn't work too well in Word, at least not when two word files are open at the same time, but it works just fine when you cut and paste text.

It took me two days to get through about 30 pages. Tonight, using this program and having my book read to me while I looked at it, I swear things went at least three times as fast. That number is an estimate, but it's not an exaggeration. I got through 50 pages tonight!

Not only that, but I know I did a better job catching things I would never have noticed from just reading the text.

And here's why: because the damn thing doesn't stop (unless you want it to, like when you have to make substantial changes). Slow and steady. It's like being on an assembly line of your own words. I felt like cross between John Henry and Laverne De Fazio.

But now it's almost 6am and I'm off to bed.


Rob Carlson said...

I know some ham radio operators who used to do transcription and proofreading back in the day, and wrote simple computer programs for their 1980s era PCs to output the text of what they were reading on the screen to Morse code. Since they were used to copying down 40-50 words per minute from other radio operators, they could easily detect spelling and punctuation errors using both senses.

PCM said...

The other week I heard about a very good computer program with Aspergers and perfect pitch. He could proof his work by converting computer code to musical notes and listening to it. Hard core.