For many years now the ability to read screen-based text has been available for students and employees within whatever context that they are working in. This is helpful for reading and comprehension with emails, essays, reports, and any other text that is available in an electronic format. Ordinarily, someone who uses text-to-speech to listen to text in an electronic format will have an installed app or program on a particular device. This is great if the user is only using one device for all their computing needs, but can experience limitations should they need to read out electronic text on other devices or for that matter access text that is in a printed format such as a worksheet, printed report, book or exam paper.
In this article, you will be shown a really simple way of accessing text on printed media, so that you can get that printed text read out in a way that works for you. Firstly, if you are considering text-to-speech as an option to access text, here are two things to consider first:
Two things to consider about using text-to-speech.
At Aventido, we do not advocate a one size fits all approach to using technology to provide accessibility to text. There are lots of text-to-speech software products available today that are free or costed and vary in terms of features as well as how the user interface works and on what electronic platform. Everyone who uses text-to-speech will do so in order to meet their own unique set of needs and it is important that the user selects a solution that is a ‘best fit’ for them.
We would like to share with you two things to consider if you are looking to start using text-to-speech:
Consider why you want to use text-to-speech.
Everyone has different reasons for using text-to-speech software. For example, I personally find text-to-speech useful in helping me to proofread blog articles. I realised that I don’t always see the mistakes that I make when I write and that in hearing the content I write, read out, I can easily identify any mistakes that I have made. For someone with dyslexia, they may have completely different reasons for using text-to-speech such as needing to read out exam papers so that they can comprehend exam questions more effectively or that it makes it easier to read out electronic textbooks.
In many cases, the Read Aloud feature in Microsoft Word will be useful as an easy way to read out text in Word documents, but for some PDF documents, it can be problematic to use this particular text-to-speech feature. Equally, when it comes to exams, the Read Aloud feature requires the user to be able to access the internet in order for it to function, but current exam requirements by the Joint Council for Qualifications will exclude using the Read Aloud feature under exam conditions.
It is really important to consider the ‘Why’ in using text-to-speech and ensuring that you find the right technological option to enable this.
Consider where and how you want to use text-to-speech.
This is really important. Increasingly technology is making working from anywhere much easier which is great in one sense, but when one wants to get a piece of text read out, it isn’t always helpful to whip out one’s laptop especially if the text is in printed format and you need access to it quickly.
So if you are considering using text-to-speech as a way to work with text then it is important to understand your own style of working and use a software package that will work with the most useful device or devices.
A good example of this is when one may want to use a smartphone to capture text from a hardcopy i.e a book in a library but then may want to go on to using that same text on one’s laptop.
Being able to access the original content for further review later on and across devices is important if one is working in different environments throughout the working day.
How can I get printed text read out loud?
The video from Mary at Aventido demonstrates the text-to-speech software ReadSpeaker TextAid which works across different devices making it easier to always get access to the text, even if the original text is in printed format.
If you would like to know more about ReadSpeaker TextAid or arrange a training session with Mary then please click the banner below: