A Text to Speech (TTS) software or a Text Reader converts normal language text into speech. There are many applications are available to achieve this.
Windows OS has components to support speech synthesis and speech recognition. Windows Narrator is the screen reader utility. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, Narrator uses SAPI (Speech Application Programming Interface) version 5.3 and the Microsoft Anna voice for English. Windows XP uses earlier version (SAPI 5) that allows the use of the default voice, Microsoft Sam.
The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch uses VoiceOver speech synthesis for accessibility which is available in Apple iOS operating system. The Android also has support for speech synthesis from version 1.6.
There is a useful add-on available for Firefox browser which actually does the text to speech conversion. Text to Voice or Text to Speech is a Firefox Browser extension which adds the speech functionality to Firefox. The add-on is developed by Vikram Joshi who is an under-graduate from IIT Delhi, India.
After installation the add-on adds a speaker icon on the bottom-right (status bar) of Firefox. You can select text from the browser window, click the button on the bottom right and this add-on speaks the selected text for you.
The add-on allows you to select a male or female voice. It supports six different languages. The language list includes English, Hindi, Espanol, Italiano, Portugues, Catala.This add-on comes handy when you encounter a word or sentence that you are not sure how to pronounce. The most interesting feature of this add-on is that it allows you to download the audio file as a mp3 file. You can save the text as mp3 in your machine. Right click on ‘download mp3’ link, select ‘save link as’, select location on your computer and it downloads the mp3 audio file there. This means that if you want to save the content of a webpage or part of the content as an audio file, it is pretty easy. But remember how useful the audio depends on how best is the speech synthesis. You can check this after adding this add-on to your Firefox browser. See below.
This is one of the cool add-ons available for Firefox browser. You can download the Text to Voice or Text to Speech is a Firefox extension from the below link.
Get Text to Voice or Text to Speech is a Firefox Add-on
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