NaturalReader Text to Speech Software for Proofreading and More


Yesterday, I whined about how there are too many apps and not enough time to try them all. I said that we don’t need more than a few apps and tools to do our work. Sometimes, you stumble across a new category of app that is truly useful and worth examining. Sure enough, this happened to me last night.

I was reading a book about writing. The author said he uses text-to-speech software for proofreading. He says it allows him to hear what he has written the way his reader will hear it, so he can correct errors in punctuation, find doubled words, and improve the flow of his writing. He recommended the NaturalReader text to speech app, so I downloaded it and I’m giving it a spin.

I’m using the free version and so far I’m impressed. The voices are surprisingly natural sounding. The paid versions allow you to install even more natural sounding voices, we are told, and edit the pronunciation of words, which would be handy for legal and medical professionals.

You can also use Natural Reader as a productivity tool. Add articles, emails, pdfs, or anything else you need to read and listen to them while you do something else. You can convert audio files to mp3 (paid version) and listen on your smart phone or other devices. Paid versions have other features I haven’t had time to explore.

I’m proof reading a book I’ve just finished. I pasted in a passage and listened to what I wrote and adjusted the playback speed to -1. It’s allowed me to catch a number of errors. I pasted in the first draft of this post and the app let me hear that I had a doubled word.

I’ve tried several text-to-speech apps on my iPhone and found that generally, the voices aren’t natural sounding and get in the way of listening. I’ve also found them a bit clunky to use. I was expecting Natural Reader to be much the same, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I know there are many other text-to-speech options available, but this one is definitely worth a try. It’s available for PC and Mac and there’s an online version as well. I’ve found that the voices sound more natural on my PC than the online version, however, so try the free download before you make up your mind.