Tuesday, January 12, 2016

iOS Text to Speech Feature

Use the text to speech feature built in to the Apple iOS accessibility options to play back written text in a variety of voices.

Text to speech

Recently I posted on how to improve your writing in ten easy steps. Step number 8 on my list is to use a text to speech application to play back your written text. When proofreading your own writing it is very easy to skip over grammatical errors. You could also read your own writing aloud, but you may still miss a variety of errors. Finding someone else to read your writing back to you may also be challenging. The best solution is to use an app of some sort to do this.

Once I learned that text to speech was an option, I searched the app store to see what apps existed. Several different apps can be downloaded. While many of these are free to install, they frequently include desirable in-app purchases.

While searching online, I discovered that the Apple iOS operating system for iPhone and iPad includes a text to speech feature under the accessibility options. Accessibility is designed for those who are visually or hearing impaired. For the hearing impaired, options exist to flash the light when the phone rings. For the visually impaired, options exist to speak menu options and read back text.

Activating text to speech

Enabling the Speak Selection feature is easy. First, open Settings and then choose General. Select Accessibility and press Speech.

In the Speech section, ensure that Speak Selection is activated (switched to on). Use the slide in the Speaking Rate section to adjust the playback speed of the text. Select the Voices option to choose voices for different languages. For English, I downloaded the Irish voice, Moira. Siri, the iPhone's voice, is capable of switch languages. My wife and I experimented with paragraphs of text in English and Korean; Siri switched languages seamlessly.

Text to speech video

Image designed on Canva.
Photo Credit: David Goehring "Listening to music on the train."

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