25th Feb 2016
Hey Android users, here's a nice way to get through the vast quantities of reading you want to do without having to stare at screens.
Install Voice Aloud Reader on your tablet or phone (Choose the free version with ads, or the ad-free--well worth it--for Rs 199.)
Once that's done, go ahead and browse through your news apps or the websites you typically use. Any time you come across an article you want to read, use the native Share function to send the article to your reading list. Collect a nice bunch and then just tune the app to your liking using the multitude of settings available and sit back and listen.
But I know, the default Test to Speech voices on your device may leave much to be desired. There's a way around that.
From the menu at the bottom of the screen, get to where you change the voice or language. Follow the thread and the app will lead you to a site to choose another TTS engine. There are voice samples so you can pick whichever appeals to you. Some engines are paid -- again, a few rupees -- and you can then download them from the Google Play store. Click to enable and now choose the voice you want. And that's it -- much more bearable and not very electronic at all.
Sure, there are some slips here and there and weird pronunciations for some words, but hugely better than the default. If you dig into the extensive settings, you'll find you can actually edit the way words are pronounced, to some extent, but you have to be careful because all instances of that combination of letters will then be pronounced the way you specify.
If you're into connecting your smartphone to your car's audio system, this isn't a bad way to get through long drives. Or just get into headphones and lie back and listen.
You don't absolutely have to use the playlist feature, obviously. You can as easily have the app read immediately by sharing to the main app and not to the listing companion. It may sound a bit complex but once you're set up, it really isn't.
What is annoying though is that the app updates every few days. Makes me very suspicious of just how many bugs there are to be corrected.
Another problem is that not all news apps and sites are configured to suit the Voice Aloud app's intake of text and so, often, there's nothing that appears. That, for sure, is a holy nuisance.
Still, the app is more useful than annoying so I'd recommend it.
Lila Ray is a corporate consultant who likes her gadgets almost more than her shoes. Write to her at email@example.com
Voice Aloud: Listen, Don’t Read
An indispensable Android app for when you want to read lots—yet give your eyes a rest
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