Whatever your reason is, text to speech software can make things much easier for you, but you want to make sure that you choose quality TTS software. After doing extensive testing and research, our choice for Best Overall TTS software is Natural Reader TTS Software with Balabolka coming in as the Best Free Text to Speech software.
Using text to speech software can be beneficial. It can be very helpful for anyone who has visual impairments or that has dyslexia which can make reading on computer or tablet screens challenging. Also, text to speech software can help overcome language barriers in situations where you may be able to read a language but have trouble with pronunciation or if you are just starting to learn a language.
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Benefits of Text to Speech Software
There are many benefits that text to speech software provides to users. Whether you are a consumer, content owner, or publisher, you will find many ways that TTS software will help you in your day to day routine, in many cases providing a much better user experience where they would otherwise be let down or struggle. We have listed the groups of people that can significantly benefit from adding text to speech software to their computer or other devices.
- Literacy difficulties – TTS software is excellent for anyone that has literacy difficulties. It’s easy to get frustrated trying to search the internet due to much of it being in text form. Having the option to hear the text rather than having to struggle with reading it helps users get the information they are seeking without the frustration or embarrassment that can occur if their literacy levels are not advanced enough for them to easily and comfortably read the text.
- Language Barriers – If you can speak a different language but are not good at reading it, TTS software can be a real advantage. Many people who go to a new country may learn to speak its language but are not able to read it. The technology that TTS software offers allows them to hear the text in the language without having to be able to read it. It is perfect for those learning a new language as well.
- Visual Impairment – TTS software is fantastic for anyone that has visual impairments that make reading text difficult. Sometimes, even if someone can see the text, it causes a lot of eye strain to read on-screen, especially if the text is on different colored backgrounds. By having access to TTS software, they can enjoy surfing the internet or reading documents or emails without the strain.
- Learning Disabilities – Dyslexia and other learning disabilities can cause a lot of problems for people who are trying to read a lot of text. TTS software offers those people the opportunity and ability to experience website content, emails, and documents in a way that they can enjoy and benefit from rather than struggle through.
- Multitasking – Sometimes life can be hectic and prevent people from having the time to do as much reading as they would like to do online. Text to speech software allows them to listen to the content rather than having to read it while doing other things. Since TTS software can be used on tablets and smartphones as well, it provides them with the “on-the-go” factor as well that fits in well with busy schedules.
- Mobile Device Content – It is not easy or comfortable to read a large amount of content on small screens. Text to speech software makes accessing large amounts of content on your phone or tablet easy and enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about scrolling endlessly or straining your eyes to read tiny print. Since most smartphones and tablets have the ability to use headphones, you can listen to the content of your choice without disturbing anyone around you as well.
- Learning Style Differences – You’ve heard that people learn differently. Some learn better through seeing, some through hearing, others through doing. Most people learn best with a combination of all three styles. If you already know that you are an auditory learner, TTS software can be a real help in retaining information and helping you understand certain things that you are reading.
- Business and Professional – Text to speech software can help business people and professionals improve the content on their websites, help them have better presentations, and increase the quality of the content produced. It also enables them to ensure that the content they are using or turning in is at its best. Hearing your content read back to you can be a valuable tool in making sure that you are presenting the best-written information possible.
How We Selected
We selected our Best Overall pick and Best Free TTS software based on consumer testimonials, reviews, and information we found on the individual product websites. We knew from reading consumer reviews that one of the most important factors if not THE most important factor was user friendliness. TTS software loses all of its benefits if the user can’t figure out how it works or has to struggle with getting it to operate properly.
How We Tested
The main objective we had when testing the different text to speech software we collected was to find the one that was the easiest to use and that had the most options available. We also wanted to make sure that we chose software that was reliable, that had good customer support if needed, and that did not have reports of having a lot of problems.
Each of the software choices we tested had similar qualities, but some had more options than others, and some were much easier to use. We tested each one, starting with the initial download to see how smooth the process of downloading was and if there were any problems. Each of the TTS software choices we tested downloaded with no problems.
Next, we looked at the help the software offered users, especially those who may not be very tech savvy. We looked at the help each company offered and evaluated how thorough it was. Were there examples? Tutorials? Customer support if something didn’t go as planned? Our winner, NaturalReader, offered users a helpful tutorial that we could watch to ensure that we were setting things up properly.
We also looked at supported formats and the kind of options and settings each software offered. Users want to have options that fit their needs, so we made sure that the TTS software we tested offered plenty of voice choices, setting options, and much more.
Natural Reader TTS Software
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NaturalReader provides users with the kind of options and choices they want in software. It is perfect for those with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or who are newly learning a different language. One of the things we liked was the four different subscription options that were offered. These choices gave us the ability to choose the subscription plan that worked the best for our specific needs. These subscription choices meant that we did not have to spend extra money on a plan that we didn’t need. We also liked the option of being able to upgrade if we needed more options later on. Users will be able to choose from a variety of languages and voices including Italian, US English, French, British English, Spanish, and more. We liked the range of formats it was compatible with as well.
Languages available include US English, French, British English, Italian, Swedish, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese. This software has OCR or optical character recognition that allows you to scan text and convert it to digital text that can be saved to the hard drive or listened to in its audio form.
NaturalReader is excellent software for the visually impaired or dyslexic. There is real time spelling check which will improve spelling weaknesses. There are four subscription plans available with NaturalReader. The free version is basic with the TTS functions available for webpages and documents, and there are some other features as well.
If you choose one of the paid subscriptions, you can get additional natural sounding voice choices and increase the number of images that can be used with the OCR. You will be able to quickly load your files or copy and paste them where you want them so it can be read aloud by the software. You can also edit the text and toggle back and forth between reading positions and languages.
Balabolka TTS Software
This free software allows users to choose from six different voices. It is considered the best text to speech software you can get, and we understand why. Using it was very easy. We liked that we could copy and paste text into the program to be read or we could choose from a lot of different formats that were supported including HTML, DOC, PDF, and others. We also liked that we could adjust the pitch, volume, and speech to create custom voice sounds as well. Another great feature of Balabolka is the ability users have of creating bookmarks for lengthy documents so you can jump right back to where you left off. This easy to use, option and feature rich software is the best free text to speech software you will find.
You will also be able to have Balabolka read content that is on your clipboard and view documents that are saved as PDF, ODT, DOC, FB2, TXT, EPUB, HTML, and RTF files. It can automatically detect any existing TTS voices installed on the computer or device you are using, and more voices can be downloaded from the internet, both paid and free. Another way that Balabolka text to speech software is useful is for file management. You can split documents and convert them as well. The timer is perfect for setting up regular reading routines and can be controlled by your computer or device’s hotkeys. Speech quality varies, but due to the settings that can be adjusted, if you take the time to choose the reading voice carefully adjust the settings on speed, the pronunciation of unusual words and pauses, you will have a reading voice that you like using and that works well for your needs.
Voice Reader 15
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Voice Reader 15 provides users with natural sounding voices that make text to speech reading much more enjoyable. Whether you like to multitask and listen to text while you are working out, cooking, or any other activity, or you have learning disabilities or vision impairments, Voice Reader 15 will provide an avenue for you to listen to any text you want. We liked how easy it was to convert any kind of text including emails, PDFs, word documents and other text into audio files (either MP3 or WAV) so we could listen to them on our computers, tablets, or smartphones. We loved that there were 45 languages and 67 voices to choose from so we could choose the exact sound we wanted and the editor was easy to use to change the volume, speed, and pitch.
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One of the best things about TextAloud is the free trial it offers users so we could see what it was all about before we purchased it. We liked that there were two premium options available so we could choose the one that met our needs the best. TextAloud partnered with several other text-to-speech companies, so there are tons of voice options and accents available. This was terrific for helping to learn different languages. We could even create a message for our answering machine with this software. It was a big help to one of the testers that has a vision problem and was easy for her to set up and use.
What We Liked
- Our favorite feature of all the software choices we tested was the large selection of voices and languages that NaturalReader offered. Having all of these language choices makes it perfect for a large number of people regardless of where they are from.
- NaturalReader also offered the largest number and range of subscriptions so we could custom tailor the subscription to our specific text to speech needs. This made it the best choice for those who are looking for text to speech software that offers plenty of options and choices.
- We liked that all the TTS software we tested offered users help in downloading and set up. NaturalReader’s tutorial was helpful in the setup process, but all of them offered help in some form to ensure that we had installed everything properly.
What We Didn’t Like
Overall, we felt like there were TOO many choices with some of the software, which could be very overwhelming to someone that is not very tech savvy. For business people, the large range of formats, settings, and converters could come in handy, but for most people, they will not need tons of choices, making much of the software’s capabilities unnecessary for them.
Text to Speech software can help a lot of people who for one reason or another cannot read text on the internet or in emails and documents. The options that are available and the quality of the choices we have presented here offer users many different ways to surf the internet, read their emails, and even learn a new language in a way that doesn’t cause stress, eye strain, and frustration. Before you choose one for yourself, make sure that you know exactly what you will be using the software for so you select one that will accommodate those needs.
Our Best Overall choice, NaturalReader Text to Speech Software, is user-friendly, has helpful tutorials that users can watch during set up, has plenty of voice options and language choices, and is feature rich. You can’t go wrong choosing this TTS software for yourself or to give to someone you care about for a gift. They will certainly appreciate how easy it is to use and the world it will open up to them if they haven’t been able to read text on web pages, documents, and other things easily.