Text to speech software is software which takes a text document and will read the text aloud using a computerized voice. Quality and features vary greatly. The software listed here is free and quite basic in its features, but can work as a support for clients with weak reading skills, home use outside of IPE needs, or as an introduction to text to speech software before purchasing a more expensive set up.
Read Please and Read Please Plus available from http://www.readplease.com
Both versions of this screen reading software have multiple male and female voices. The user can change voices, speed and font size while it is reading.
Will highlight text in yellow as it reads text..
Can read off clipboard (highlight, right click, copy), however won’t highlight as it reads if reading directly from text document rather than cut and pasted into the Read Please window.
Read Please – Free edition
Read Please Plus $59.99
Read Please Plus has same features, plus a few more which are handy. On the left of the screen there are forward and backward keys. These allow you to jump forward or backward a sentence, and more options are listed on the main screen.
Ultra Hal Text to Speech reader 1.0 available from www.download.com
Like Read Please, Ultra Hal has multiple voices, both male and female and others are available for purchase. User is able to change speed, pitch and volume of voice.
On a text document, user can set Hal up to automatically read highlighted material put on clipboard.
If pasted into the Hal Reader window, will highlight each word in black (with white lettering) as well as show each word enlarged at bottom of screen.
User can type directly into Hal Reader window, and save directly to Word. Hal Reader has basic Word-like tool bar which allows some basic formatting of typed material.
A nice feature is that you can have Hal create and save an audio file of the spoken text (as WAV file). A similar feature exists on Read and Write Gold called Speechmaker, however will allow choice of audio file formats including MP3
Available from http://www.cfs-technologies.com/home/?id=1.4
Has multiple voices, same voices as Hal Reader.
User is unable to change voices, speed or pitch in mid stream (while it is reading), though you are able to changes these. Does not highlight as it reads. Will read as information is placed on clipboard (highlighted, right click and copy). Can export and save file as WAV audio file like Hal Reader.
Printable info sheets with screen shot images: