Converting text to speech isn’t anything new, but using this technology to read online articles is definitely an advantage to be more productive. As a matter of fact, text to speech engines are evolving day by day with human-like voices. So why don’t we rest our eyes and enjoy that 1500 word long article by listening with our ears. Apart from that, text to speech translation is very useful for millions of visually challenged users.
There are many online services for text to speech translations, but the process is just tedious and you have to pay for some of these services. However, using some free chrome extensions, you can do text to speech translations far more easily. Here are some of the best chrome extensions for text to speech translation.
SpeakIt (no longer available) is one of the best chrome text to speech extensions with a wide range of options and different voices for different people. Once installed, select the text you want to be translated and right click to select SpeakIt to translate the text to speech. The good thing about SpeakIt is that it supports Google US and UK voice versions.
To change SpeakIt settings, right click on the SpeakIt icon and select the options from the list. You can change different settings like the default text to speech engine, volume, speed of playback, male or female voice, etc.
SoundGecko (no longer available) is the most robust text to speech chrome extension allowing you to listen to any article on the web. Once installed, open the options panel by right-clicking on the SoundGecko icon and selecting options from the list. Here you have to register your email address in order to use SoundGecko. Once you have registered, you can either select the text you want to translate to speech or you can send the webpage URL to “firstname.lastname@example.org” which in turn sends you a link where you can read and listen to the document or webpage.
The best thing about SoundGecko is that it is fast, and using SoundGecko, you can even download the text to speech translations in mp3 format.
Select and Speak
Select and Speak is just like SpeakIt and serves the purpose very well. Select and Speak uses the iSpeech text to speech translation engine with 40+ human-like voices. Once installed, you can easily configure Select and Speak by right-clicking on the icon and selecting options from the list. Under the options panel, you’ll find a wide range of options where you can set default playback speed, default translation engine, male or female voice, etc.
Just like SpeakIt, to listen to a webpage you need to select the text you want to translate, right-click on it and select “Speak it”. It is that easy to use Select and Speak.
With the above extensions, you will be able to listen to an article rather than reading it, and it is a good way for you to multi-task. Which text to speech software or extensions are you using?? Do you know of any better ways to listen to a webpage?? Do share your thoughts and experiences via the comments form below.