Thursday, 28 May 2009

Text to Speech

Update: there's a series on Text-to-Speech eLearning:

More coming on that.

As part of the eLearning Tour, Christopher von Koschembahr demonstrated a podcast where he conducted an interview. The interviewer was a female voice asking questions. She would ask a question and then he would respond. What was interesting is that the interviewer was produced using Text to Speech. You can listen to the result at the 12:23 mark of the first video on the eLearning Tour page.

The effect was interesting. For short bursts of text, the computer generated voice was okay. Thus, it works well with the interview structure. Of course, you quickly know that he's written the questions. Still it works for me. In general, I think the response during the session was positive.

Based on the comments during the session, a few questions came up:

  • Does Text to Speech work for longer form content?
  • Captivate 4 contains built in Text to Speech. Are people using that much? For what kinds of content?

I did a couple of tests with a few of the free Text to Speech services that I found to see what something that's a big longer would sound like. I tried YAKiToMe!, Feed2Podcast, SpokenText, and ReadTheWords. None of them produced something that I could listen to for any length of time. My conclusion -

Text to Speech works for short bursts, not for longer amounts of content.

I'd be curious what anyone is doing out there with Text to Speech beyond the example that Chris discussed.

Anyone using it in their Captivate courses? How? How much text do you use?

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