WARNING: It turns out IVONA Recordings recently updated their website...and destroyed the wonderful free features I explain in this post. Instead of the online version, they now offer the free IVONA Minireader. You can save this program to your computer and download all the free voices. I still have to try it out, since the download is taking forever...
One of the best ways to check if your writing flows well is to hear your work out loud. You can read your own story out loud to yourself, or ask a friend or family member to do it for you.
You can grab a cup of tea, sit back, and have an online recording studio do the job!
Over the past two years, I've been searching and searching for the perfect (AKA: free) text to speech application. I found several, although the good ones were very limited.
Many had natural-sounding voices, but only permitted up to a maximum of about one thousand words, while others managed any word count but only offered robotic and cringe-inducing voices.
Recently, thanks to a message on Critique Circle, I discovered IVONA Recordings. IVONA Recordings has no word limit whatsoever. You simply paste the text you want it to read, select the voice, and enjoy story time. It's absolutely free, although it does offer you the possibility to buy the recording for a not-so-modest fee.
I admit several voices are rather mechanical-sounding, but most are more than decent for a free program. What's more, you can use IVONA Recordings for different languages and accents: Castilian Spanish, British English, Welsh English, Welsh, American English, German, French, Canadian French, Italian, and several more. Each language option offers at least two speakers: one male and one female.
Overall, I believe IVONA Recordings is a reasonably good text to speech application--with a more than reasonable price! So if you'd like to know what your story sounds like, but are too tired to read it out loud, let IVONA Recordings do it for you!
This is probably the best text to speech application I've found, but I'm sure there are other great options out there. Do you have a favorite? Send me the name in the comments! Or maybe you don't think text to speech applications are a useful way to check the flow. You can also send me a comment!