Papers for my iPod

Thursday, April 24th, 2008 by hinrich

I have been using the program TextAloud from NextUp since May 2005. Essentially, it is able to convert documents into spoken text. Saving this as an .mp3 file allows me to listen to scientific documents while I am commuting between home and work. Even though the concept is very nice, it does not work very well. Especially articles in .pdf form from journals need a lot of reformatting. This needs to be simplified. Also, the spectrum of available synthetic voices is quite limited. Even though AT&Ts Natural Voices sound very well, there is a lot that still can be improved so that it becomes more pleasant to listen to. Furthermore, having an intelligent combination of a good computer-based text summarization (e.g. the Copernic Summarizer) with text-to-speech should make it even more useful to convert scientific articles that one normally would not have time to read, into audio to be listen to in the car.

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