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How to customize announcements and hints for VoiceOver on Mac

Learn how to hear announcements and hints when using VoiceOver on Mac. You can enable, disable, and customize what’s spoken.
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How to add your own pronunciations on iPhone and iPad

When it comes to using the accessibility features on iPhone and iPad, there are times when you need to make some tweaks. For spoken content it could be the speaking rate or the voice you hear. With this, have there...
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How to receive typing feedback on iPhone and iPad

Learn how to set up Typing Feedback on iPhone or iPad to have the characters and words you type spoken out loud; ideal for visual impairments.
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How to Download More Voices for Windows Narrator

Windows Narrator is one of several accessibility functions in Windows 10. It serves as a simple screen reader for users with visual impairments.

But even if you don’t need it for that reason, you may still find Windows Narrator useful. To that end, you might wish to download and install Windows Narrator voices other than the default. We’ll show you how to easily get new Windows 10 Narrator voices for text-to-speech (TTS).

How to Change the Windows Narrator Voice

You actually don’t have to go outside Windows to get new Narrator voices, as it does include a few extras besides the default. To change them, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator. Under Personalize Narrator’s voice, choose a new voice from the dropdown box.

Windows Narrator Voices

In addition to changing the voice sound, you can adjust other aspects of it too. Use the sliders to Change voice speed, voice pitch, and voice volume. There are many more options about how the Narrator works below, but they’re not directly related to the voice.

By the way, aside from the Narrator, there are other ways to make your computer read documents to you.

Downloading New Windows 10 Narrator Voices

In recent versions of Windows 10, Microsoft added the ability to download more Narrator voices from inside Settings. However, this is really just a shortcut to download more voice packs for other languages.

You should see an Add more voices link underneath the Choose a voice box on the settings page mentioned above. If you don’t see this, download the latest version of Windows 10 from Microsoft and check again.

When you click Add more voices, you’ll jump to the Speech tab of the Time & Language section of Settings. Scroll down to find the Manage voices section, where you can click Add voices again. This will bring up a list of languages that you can download voice packs for.

Manage Voices Windows 10

Obviously, languages that you don’t know are of little use to you as Narrator voices. But you can get some use out of these by downloading variations of your language in other regions. For example, if you live in the US, you can download the English (Australia) pack to use voices that have an Australian accent.

Once you download a pack, it will appear in the Installed voice packages section. Close the Settings app, then go back to the Narrator options and you can choose voices from the new pack you downloaded.

More Third-Party Windows Narrator Voice Options

If none of the above options work for you, you’ll have to turn to third-party tools for more text-to-speech voices. Microsoft’s page on customizing the Narrator recommends several third-party speech synthesizer software tools that you can use to add more voices. These all support SAPI 5, and include:

While most of these tools aren’t free, if you need a high-quality screen reader or voice, they’re worth paying for. Once you add the tools to your system, you can select their voices using the same menu above. Give Zero2000’s free text-to-speech voices a try if you don’t want to pay.

And for the reverse of this, check out the best free speech-to-text tools for Windows.

Read the full article: How to Download More Voices for Windows Narrator

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6 Free Online Tools to Download Text-to-Speech as MP3 Audio

Text to speech tools help you turn the written word into the spoken word. Text to speech technology has come a long way over the years, with male and female voices, different accents, and the ability to control volume, pitch, rate, and more.

If you need a service to convert text to speech and then download it as an MP3 file, we’ve rounded up the best free websites to do that. The emphasis here is on tools that give you a file at the end of it, rather than just playing the conversion.

Here are the best text to speech converters with free download.

1. ttsMP3

ttsmp3

ttsMP3 is a brilliant text to speech tool. First, you can select from loads of different languages across a variety of accents like American and Welsh. Input your text, choose your voice from the dropdown, then click Read to hear it. If you’re happy, click Download as MP3 to grab the recording.

The standout feature here though is the ability to use syntax to change the voice. You can emphasize words, change the pitch, create conversations, and much more. That’s because the service is powered by Amazon Polly. You can view some example syntax on the ttsMP3 site, or check out the full list on Amazon’s Supported SSML Tags page.

You can convert up to 375 words or 3000 characters a day for free. If you need more, you can either wait for it to reset or pay for a membership—curiously, you can only get either a 24-hour plan or an annual plan.

2. Text 2 Voice

Text 2 Voice does what it says on the tin. Input up to 2000 characters into the text box—a counter beneath the box shows how much you’ve used and if you need more from a single conversion then you’ll have to pay.

Beneath, use the Language and Regions dropdown, and then select from the Voices list alongside. Once done, click the yellow Convert to speech button. This might take a short while if you’ve written a lot. When it’s ready, the audio will automatically play.

You can also expand the options for Additional Audio Settings (change between MP3 and OGG and change the sample rate) and Additional Voice Settings (voice speed and voice effect). If you do alter these, click Convert to speech again to process the change before clicking Download MP3/OGG.

3. Text 2 Speech

text 2 speech

Text 2 Speech is a simple service, but it does the job well. Input your text (up to 4000 characters) select from a small range of voices, choose the talking speed, and give the resulting audio file a name. When ready, click Start.

You’ll then be taken to a new results page where you can play the audio. If you’re not happy, click Back to start to begin again and make any necessary changes.

If all is good, you can then download the file in either MP3 or WAV format. The site shows you the file size of each. Both should be relatively small, but if you want the smallest then go for MP3.

4. Festvox

festvox

Festvox is part of a project at Carnegie Mellon University’s speech group. Their text to speech tool is a bit outdated now, especially as the voices sound a bit robotic, but it still does a quick and simple job if that’s what you need.

There are some limitations. While there’s no specified character limit, it doesn’t convert anything if you input a huge amount of text. Also, though there is a dropdown to choose audio format, whatever you select will output as a WAV—but that’s fine since it’s a common and lightweight file format.

Once you’ve popped your text in, and chosen your voice, click Synthesize to download the file. If your file shows as 0 KB and/or doesn’t play any audio, it means you’ve used too many characters. Go back and reduce the amount of text.

5. Kukarella

kukarella

Kukarella requires you to sign up before you can use the service, but that’s okay since it’s free (for up to 2000 characters), quick, and ultimately worthwhile. Once signed up and logged in, click the Convert Text to Voice button on the homepage.

Since Kukarella is powered by Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, that means you can choose from a good number of different voices in many languages. Some are only available on a paid membership, but the free service has a large enough choice.

Above where you input your text, note that you can switch to the Voices with Effects tab. Here you can highlight your text and apply effects (like emphasis or whisper) to specific parts. Once done, click Convert to process everything, and you can then play the clip and click the Download icon to grab the MP3.

6. Hearling

Hearling is the second version of a text to speech tool called Sound of Text (which is still a good choice, but very basic). You need to sign up for a free account which grants you 5000 characters per month of standard voices and 1250 characters per month of the more advanced WaveNet voices.

Once logged in, head to the Clips page and click New Clip. Choose your language, the dialect, and the voice, then click Next. On the right-hand panel, input the text that you wish to convert. When ready, click Synthesize Clips.

You’ll be taken to a Download Clips page, where you can choose to Play and Download your clip as an MP3 file. If you’re not happy with the output, click Start Over to try again. You can return to this page whenever you like to view all your previously created clips, though you will need to pay if you want to download them all at once in a ZIP.

The Best Free Speech to Text Software

Whichever of these services you choose, you’re in good hands. Here’s a little tip: even if you exhaust your free limit on one of them, you can simply move to the next.

There are some excellent text to speech apps for your Android phone too. And if you’re also looking for speech to text, here’s our best free speech to text programs for Windows.

Read the full article: 6 Free Online Tools to Download Text-to-Speech as MP3 Audio

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How to Read Text Out Loud on Android: 3 Methods You Can Use

Using Android text to speech can be a really great way to boost your own productivity. Having your phone read text out loud while you multitask with other important jobs can save you some time.

We’ll show you how to use text to speech with your Android phone. There are several methods at your disposal for having Android read text out loud.

1. Read Aloud With Google Assistant

Until fairly recently, Google Assistant wasn’t the best at reading text out loud. It could only read your text messages and, even then, was limited to the five most recent messages. However, in March 2020, Google implemented an upgrade that allows Android to read web pages out loud.

If you don’t already have Google Assistant ready to go, find out how to use Google Assistant first. From there, getting Google Assistant to read text out loud is super easy. Simply launch Google Assistant (using a voice command or shortcut gesture) and you’re ready to hear text read aloud.

To have Google Assistant read out a web page, first navigate to the page you want it to read. Then, launch the text to speech function with the Read It command. The assistant will confirm that it plans to read the text to you, then it will then start reading. That’s all it takes—the Assistant will highlight words in blue as it reads them.

This also works with text messages, as previously mentioned. To have text messages read aloud, simply ask Google Assistant to do so by saying Hey Google, read my text messages. If you have any new, unread messages, Google Assistant will read them for you.

You can even respond using your voice, if you want. This is still fairly restrictive in what it can do, though, as it won’t read older messages.

2. Use Android’s Text to Speech Feature

If you don’t want to use Google Assistant to read text out loud, you can use your phone’s native text-to-speech function. This is relatively easy to set up and use by navigating a menu or two. It’s actually an accessibility feature designed for those with little or no sight. However, it also comes in handy for getting Android to read text aloud to you.

To get text-to-speech working, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Text-to-Speech.
    1. This path and the options available may vary depending on your Android version or manufacturer. For example, Samsung users can choose between Google’s text-to-speech function or Samsung’s.
  2. Take a look at the options and change them as you see fit. Tap the Settings gear to change options for it. On the main page, you can adjust the speech rate and pitch, plus play an example to hear how it sounds.
  3. Go back to the main Accessibility screen, tap Select to Speak, and toggle it on.

Now, navigate back to your home screen, and you should notice an extra icon in the bottom right-hand corner. This looks like a little person inside a circle. That’s your text-to-speech assistant, which can read any on-screen text out loud. Operating text-to-speech is simple; here’s how to use it:

  1. Navigate to the app or page you want Android to read out loud.
  2. Tap the new icon (it will turn blue).
  3. Select the text you want Android to read out loud.

Android will now read out your text. Unfortunately, it probably won’t sound as good as Google Assistant (in our testing, it sounded fairly robotic). But at least it can read out more than your last five messages.

3. Third-Party Text to Speech Apps

If neither of the above options work for you, there are a number of third-party apps available that provide text to speech on Android. However, in a lot of cases, these aren’t worth it. This is because a lot of them rely on Google Assistant to read text out loud, meaning they can’t provide much more than the built-in tools.

For the best options, have a look at our favorite text-to-speech apps for Android.

Making Use of Android Text to Speech

We’ve shown you the best solutions for text to speech on Android. Thankfully, the default options are now good enough that most people shouldn’t need to install a third-party app. Enjoy having text read aloud to you anywhere on your Android phone!

To try out the opposite of this, see our guide to using speech-to-text on Android.

Read the full article: How to Read Text Out Loud on Android: 3 Methods You Can Use

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Siri voice in Germany gets a quality boost thanks to machine learning

Siri in Germany appears to have finally received upgraded voices but it's a way overdue update, arriving almost three years after the English voices were significantly improved via the iOS 11 update, which launched back in 2017.
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How to have your Mac announce alerts and speak text

If you’re interested in having your Mac announce alerts or speak text to you, you have some great accessibility features to help.
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iOS 14: downloadable custom voice synthesizers to replace built-in speech voices

iOS 14 could let you replace the default Siri voice feedback with something a bit more punchy, like a custom voice synthesizers for "Space Odyssey"'s HAL 9000 computer.