Voice Based ICT Software and Resources

There are many options in accessing MS Windows and MAC OS computers with voice. Either voice recognition (speaking into a microphone) or text to speech (voice output) need to be carefully researched and scrutinised.  Some relevant resources are listed in this document with hyperlinks to the web sites where software can be downloaded as freeware, Open source or as trial copies.

It is always a good option to test, experiment and play with software before committing to an option. Free software or programs at no cost are not necessarily the best or the most ideal option – but are useful in educating a person to options in that genre. They also provide good short term solutions, especially where funding is difficult. Sometimes they fulfil a need without any further research or intervention. It is not a one-fix solution and so a number of programs may be required. Every student is different and unique and so are their abilities and differences.

With most text to speech programs, only the voice installed on the host computer (e.g. Microsoft Anna) will be available. The commercial programs have higher quality voices and are worth pursuing and acquiring.

Text to Speech Programs that will voice or speak text

Read Please 2003 text-to-speech software with 10 other language voices. Ideal for older computers (Win 2000, XP) Freeware

Natural Reader V10 software is intuitive and very easy to use. Versions are available for MS Windows and MAC OS. Freeware and commercial versions are available with high quality voices in the commercial programs.

Coolspeech A very useful text to speech player (Shareware)

Text Sound V2.0 It has some useful features

SpeakComputer A new program with 6 TTS options, are all accessed from a floating toolbar

EmacSpeak Ideal for Internet sites using Linux operating system

E-triloquist E-triloguist has some interesting features and supports people who cannot speak for themselves

Orato It is ideal for reading – voices anything in the clipboard

TextAloud V3 It has numerous features and functions

GhostReader For MAC OS users- an excellent option

Ogif’s TalkAny An old program that has been reengineered to operate on MS Windows Vista and 7

Text to Speech Programs that have voiced spell checker options (free)

Lingoes A free voiced dictionary and translation tool (while being used with an Internet connection)

www.wordtalk.org.uk WordTalkV4.2 is a set of tools within MS Word including spell checker & basic thesaurus – Freeware

Headset microphone with USB receiverWordWeb A thesaurus with speech – Freeware

Note: The latest MAC OS computers have Karen and Lee as options in the operating systems: Check out: http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/tools-and-resources/karen-and-lee-voices-available-on-mac-os/

Text to Speech Programs that will convert text to audio (TTA)   

WordTalk An add-in for MS Word on MS Windows with many useful features and functions

DSpeech It will convert text to WAV, MP3, OGG, WMA formats

Balabolka Converts to different formatsas well with spell checker and even has a built-in magnifying glass

2nd Speech Centre – Has sound converter features – (Shareware)

Text to Audio Sound conversion utility – (Shareware)

Natural Reader –  Pro V10 is approximately (USD $49.50) for a single user licence

Text to Speech Programs supporting other languages 

DSpeech              

Balabolka             

Natural Reader

ReadPlease 2003

Text to Speech in MS PowerPoint (Windows only) presentation mode

PowerTalkPowerTalk V1.2.1 software voices text and word art in MS PowerPoint presentations. Freeware

Spelling and Grammar Supports – Freeware

MyStudyBar A literacy toolbar from the EduApps site in Scotland

AccessApps Fifty free apps that run from USB drives

Access Tools ECS Accessibility Team – will run from USB flash drives

Text to Speech Programs – Commercial Literacy Supports 

Texthelp Read and Write (Standard or Gold) – Windows or MAC OS

ClaroRead – MS Windows or MAC OS versions

Wynn – MS Windows

Kurzweil Windows or MAC OS versions

Medialexie a program from France that has some interesting features and functions

Text to Speech in Web Browsers

AtbarAtbar Change the look and feel of web pages, have text read aloud and spell check forms and it is free

BrowseAloud A flexible and powerful commercial option

Aloud4ie adds text-to-speech capabilities to MS Internet Explorer

Google Chrome V11 TTS A new option that operates in the Chrome browser

SpeakComputer Text to Speech Browser A free text to speech add-in that runs in a browser window

WebbIE It is a free text-only browser and works really well with screen reading software (e.g. Jaws, Thunder and NVDA)

ChromeSpeak It requires the Google Chrome browser

Screen Reading Software

Jaws Commercial screen reading software

Thunder A freeware program

NVDA Open Source screen reader for MS Windows

Speech Recognition – Free

Dragon DictateBuilt in to MS Windows Vista and Windows 7

Built in to MAC OS X versions

Voice Searcher (requires Google Chrome)

TalkTyper (requires Google Chrome)

MyStudyBar (versions for Windows Vista and 7 only)

Speech Recognition – Commercial

Description: DP livescribe.jpgDragon Naturally Speaking V12

Dragon Dictate2 for MAC OS

SpeakQ (requires WordQ)

Medialexie toolbar – dictation

Digital Pens – Audio Recording

Livescribe models (Echo, Pulse – 2BG to 8GB models) 

SL Voice Recorder Pen

StealthTek Audio Pen 5

Arrow USB Flash Digital pen

Reading Pens – OCR with voice

Oxford Reading Pen 2

Spelling and Grammar Supports

GhotitGinger Grammar and  Spell checkerGhotit For users with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other writing difficulties             

Ginger Grammar and Spell checker 

  • Also Read & Write, ClaroRead and Wynn

iOS Apple Apps – Text to Speech

Description: siri on ipad.jpgText to speech is built in to iOS devices (using Karen’s voice)

  • Many apps have text to speech options built in or use Apple’s licensed version of Karen
  • Numerous note taking Apps have TTS options
  • Abilipad, SpeakIt, PDF Reader Pro
  • SVox voices for Android are available for Android phones and tablets

iOS Apps – Speech Recognition

SIRI is inbuilt into iPhones (4 and 4s models) and the latest iPad 

Additional Resources and Articles

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About Gerry Kennedy

Gerry Kennedy is an Independent Information and Inclusive Technology Consultant, working in private practice in Melbourne, Australia. He has specialised in the areas of special needs, rehabilitation and assistive technology support in education and employment for over 27 years. A teacher of 31 years, he currently works at East Burwood SDS school part time, as an ICT Teacher.

Gerry has had experience working in all states in Australia and Territories. He advises from Early Education and Pre-school through to secondary schools, having lectured to TAFE and University to under and post graduates. He frequently publishes articles and software reviews on numerous web sites and in journals and magazines.

Gerry promotes leading practice in the implementation and deployment of innovative ICT and Inclusive Technology in education and training. He consults, trains and advises parents, therapists, and other education and therapy related professionals as well as school personnel in how best to utilise and harness the features and functions of mainstream and specialised software as well as assistive device implementation.

8 Responses to Voice Based ICT Software and Resources

  1. thank you my friend
    it’s verey nice post
    L like it

  2. Gerry Kennedy says:

    I am glad that you like the article. You might like to add some of these links to your site as well?

    My kind regards
    Gerry

  3. Hello,
    Thanks a lot for giving the new information.

  4. AWesome Post.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Ian bell says:

    Thank you for a wonderful list. You missed one important product: Text Speaker. It works in multiple languages and can output in WAV, WMV and MP3 formats.

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