Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Reading Aloud? (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tiamat

Patron
I always find that it's helpful to read my work out loud. It helps me get a feel for the flow of the words, the cadence, and it also helps me identify typos, missing words, repeated words and phrases, things like that. I tried something new today though, and I wanted to share it in case anyone else either didn't know that this feature exists or has never tried it.

I had the robot inside Microsoft Word read my short story aloud to me. I'd seen the feature before and thought about trying it out, but just never clicked the actual button. Today I did and it was a total game changer.

First of all, it actually made me grin to hear my writing being read aloud by someone who isn't me, even if that someone is a machine with a monotone voice. but more importantly, I found two typos and several repeated words that just reading it out loud myself didn't catch.

Have any of you tried having someone or something else read your work aloud?
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
Have any of you tried having someone or something else read your work aloud?
Yeah, isn't it super helpful? :D I actually wrote Beast Heart by doing the same thing -- at the end of each scene, I'd have the computer read it back to me. Like you said, hearing the prose can make a big difference in the things you notice (or don't).

I believe (though I'm not totally sure) you can also add voices to Microsoft Word through your Windows settings, if you're looking for more variety. 👍
 
Last edited:

Matchu

Senior Member
I dunno…even when I do read it back - like an opera singer - that chill moment opening the same document six months later on…after the rejection, initially really imagining their borderline decision:

The sharp intake of breath, the beginning 2 paragraphs. ‘Nnnng, what the facking version of a psychotic episode was this pile of cack!’ That moment
 
Last edited:

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I have been using it. I doubted its usefulness for a long time because the website doesn't advertise it for dyslexia or dysgraphia. I use the sentence setting and it seems to help me spot more mistakes than my other text to speech readers. I know highlighting with a color when reading though helps with dyslexia. There's evidence regarding it. But I was confused because of the claims companies made about their products. It works for me. I only wish it had screen masking for word. Screen masking only works inside the application. That is it hides the rest of the text and focuses on a small area of the screen when reading. I don't use the screen masking often. I hope one day it makes it into word. That way it have the same features that wynn reader has which has been discontinued.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Yes, I use Microsoft Text to Speech. Especially for technical writing. It's amazing what you can pick up through audio over visual.

I'm working on a project to make training materials accessible. That means listening to every written word to ensure the instruction is clear when heard and also adding descriptions to pictures, charts, and tables. It's really good for improving my clarity in writing when I have to describe something visual in as few words as possible.

"A man holding a glass."
"A hand holding a glass that is half-empty." or,
"A glass of water that is half-full."

We say a picture says a thousand words. That's why we use them, but doing the reverse is challenging. "What is this picture trying to say in the context of this material?"
 
Last edited:

Kyle R

WF Veterans
That's fantastic! This is where I run off to find those settings. Thanks! 😁
So I looked on Word and there are only 3 voices available (the default robotic ones) on my desktop version.

But if you have Microsoft Edge (browser), you can use one of the new neural AI voices, which sound like real people. To do it, log into Office online (office.com). Then open your file, and click on:

View -->
Immersive Reader

The window view will change. Then you'll see a play button on the bottom. If you click it, you should hear your text in one of the new neural voices (two options: one male, one female).

Hopefully this works for you!
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
EDIT: I found one more method. This one is a workaround, but it gives you all of Microsoft Edge's neural AI voices.

1) Open a new Microsoft Edge browser window

2) Paste this in the address (URL) bar:

data:text/html, <body contenteditable style="font: 2rem/1.5 Times New Roman;max-width:60rem;margin:0 auto;padding:4rem;">

(This turns your browser window into a makeshift text editor.)

3) Type, or paste your story text. (Nobody online can see your text. This window is open only on your own desktop.)

4) Right click on the left margin (blank white space). A popup menu should appear below your cursor. This'll have the "Read Aloud" option on it.

5) Click and enjoy the various different neural voices!
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
EDIT: I found one more method. This one is a workaround, but it gives you all of Microsoft Edge's neural AI voices.

1) Open a new Microsoft Edge browser window

2) Paste this in the address (URL) bar:

data:text/html, <body contenteditable style="font: 2rem/1.5 Times New Roman;max-width:60rem;margin:0 auto;padding:4rem;">

(This turns your browser window into a makeshift text editor.)

3) Type, or paste your story text. (Nobody online can see your text. This window is open only on your own desktop.)

4) Right click on the left margin (blank white space). A popup menu should appear below your cursor. This'll have the "Read Aloud" option on it.

5) Click and enjoy the various different neural voices!
Thanks for posting that. I tried a free trial. It might be for me to use. I think I caught more mistakes than I could have by using read-aloud. The problem is that it plays the text and it does not let you edit by having a pause button in Microsoft Word. It is very limited in functionality. That being said I located the company and I am using the free trial. It has two different highlighting colors which are good for people with disabilities. I own many speech-to-text readers. I used a free trial. For people with dyslexia, it is worth a try. Because I spent an hour pausing the manuscript and correcting the mistakes. It's better than read-aloud. For 89 euros it is pricey. But at least you don't spend a fortune compared to other ones I have used for testing if purchasing. I couldn't find a way to add any Microsoft voices. IMO the highlighting is more important to me since not every software lets you change the colors of the screen reader highlighters. It does both highlighting options at the same time at the sentence level and word level. Text aloud does only one of these options at a time. The complete software doesn't work in Microsoft word but in a web browser. It is a little counterintuitive since you need a mouse if using a laptop and a full keyboard since you need to right-click a lot. Still, it was worth the effort to research it. Read speaker is the name of the software I am talking about.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I find that I add or delete words when I read - both aloud and silently, so it isn't good for serious editing. Microsoft Text to Speech works best for me, as I listen my mind goes on alert if phrasing is awkward, or words are missing, or unnecessary words have been added.
 
Last edited:

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I guess what disappoints me about many programs in general is that there aren't many options for dual highlighting. The text to speech reader must have a good voice. That being said I do have a processing disorder which affects distinguishing sounds and letters when heard or read visually (dyslexia: or not identifying the speech to letter correspondence). I hope they add an add-on for Microsoft word. So much potential has been wasted. For example, for Microsoft word there is no dual highlighting at the sentence and word level and the voice is subpar. On microsoft edge it exists but you cannot pause and edit while you read it, or read it back when you edit your document in word. It is very frustrating. I think that is what he was referring to. It is a free service. I often use microsoft edge to read stories on this forum. But it is not a word processor.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
I actually prefer the more robotic voices as it's completely devious of any emotion, making it easier for me to listen for errors. So long as it's clear, I'm down for it.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
They work great but are a little problematic when asked to read poetry. They don't seem to understand a line break in poetry and will read the end of the line as an actual sentence ending and will begin the next line as if it's a new sentence.

They're a huge help when I ask them to read my essays and book chapters. They let me hear all kinds of mistakes I overlook in my readings. They sometimes have odd pronunciations, though. Yesterday, the reader read "refuse"--I wanted it to come out as in "I refuse to do that" but he pronounced it as "REF-use." Those mispronunciations can sometimes interrupt the writer's attention span.

What I love the most, what I find the most helpful, is to have someone else read a piece out loud. The human reader has nothing to go by but the lines, words, and punctuation. Hearing someone else read my pieces will likely represent how a reader "out there" might read it. If the person reads it well, as intended, that's a great feeling. But if the person reads it awkwardly, I know I have more work to do. Trouble is, finding someone to read out loud ain't no easy task.:-D Probably the easiest place to get this done it at an in-person writing group.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
The one I mentioned would work since it uses a web browser as if it were a word processor. It's called readspeaker. You can copy the text or upload the document. I prefer to copy the text to the clipboard and paste it. There is a 14-day free trial available to try it yourself to see if it is to your liking. You can use that opportunity to test it if for any reason you doubt it works. Also, it would give you the chance to see how it works. The subscription costs 11 dollars a month. I tried it. I think it is worth it for me.
 
Last edited:

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Mentor
I read aloud in my head (tis faster that way).
However, after a few months of editing I have trouble reading things normally because I am reading everything aloud in my head instead of just reading it.
But reading aloud is best. And no, I am not a fan of having the machine read it for you. It's lazy and will not yield the same results.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top