Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Text to Speech Software

After you've picked out a text that you'd like to listen to, it's time to convert that document to MP3.

Now, if you've picked out a particularly long document, such as the aforementioned Ulysses by James Joyce, you will most likely need to break the text up into separate documents to be made into separate audio files for manageable listening. You could either follow the natural structure of the book, separating the document into individual chapter text files, or do something more arbitrary, like breaking the document into separate files every 3050 pages.

Once you have your documents ready to go, you need a tool to convert them to MP3 format. A quick search of VersionTracker (http://www.versiontracker.com) will turn up a variety of shareware and commercial titles for Windows that will convert text files to audio files. If you conduct the same search on the Mac OS X end of things, you'll find several freeware titles in the mix. This is because Mac OS X has integrated text-to-speech support built into the OS. Here's how you can convert text to speech under Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Your end result will be an audio file that you can convert as described in the next section.

If you are on Windows, use a third-party text-to-audio program such as VoiceMX Studio (http://www.tanseon.com/products/voicemx.htm), load the text, and generate your output file (in the case of VoiceMX Studio, you'll get a .wav file). Next, convert the file to MP3 as described later in this hack, then take the resulting file and drop it in /PSP/MUSIC/ on your Memory Stick to listen.

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