We have a project planned for Mac360 where we bring audio to our articles. Does that mean each writer would need to record the audio for each article? No, that would be painful. Painful to do. Painful to listen to.
Instead, we want the Mac to do the voices. That means an app that can read the text of the article and record the audio, too. Easier said than done. But, there’s an app (or two) for that.
Speak To Me, Mister Mac
Your Mac will read text to you already. Simply open up System Preferences, click on the Speech microphone icon, click the Text to Speech button and select a voice.
Then, select some text in an app, right click, select Speech, select Start Speaking.
Your Mac will begin to read the selected text in the voice you’ve chosen. Two of the Mac’s voices (Alex and Samantha) are quite good, natural, lifelike.
The problem? Those voices don’t get recorded as an audio file. But, there’s an app for that. Read4Me is an inexpensive Mac app that reads text in a Mac voice and records the text as audio. The audio file can be popped into iTunes for your iPod or iPhone.
Read4Me handles multiple languages, and gives you access to many additional voices for the Mac, also in multiple languages. Setup is straightforward and has one caveat. Unlike your Mac’s speech capability which works in most apps, Read4Me requires you to copy and paste your text into the app.
The voice audio can be exported as an AIFF file or AudioBook format (click on the image above for a larger, more detailed view).
Voices can be fine tuned using a built-in Voice Coach which helps to improve speech rate, volume, pauses, and more.
Unusual words can be added to the dictionary. A simple slider bar changes the words read per minute.
Each voice can be tested prior to reading the text. Read4Me couldn’t be much easier to use and it’s surprisingly inexpensive, considering it handles over two dozen languages.
Caveats? Other than you have to copy text into Read4Me, the one that bothers me the most is the file export also needs an MP3 option.