My job requires lots of reading. But sometimes I read very slowly. Other times my body is occupied doing something that precludes the ability to read from a book or an electronic display. So I have been looking for ways to fit in more reading and to read faster. Text-to-speech technology provides the means to do this. So I use text-to-speech for speed reading, for multi-task reading, for and a few other things. In this post, I will (a) talk you about the best PDF-to-speech app that I have found and (b) talk about how I use text-to-speech more generally.
Most computers, tablets, and smartphones can read text aloud in one way or another. However, until recently, I have not found text-to-speech software that can do both of the following:
- Speak the whole document start-to-finish. Every new page seems to trip up the software, so I have to restart the speech playback at the beginning of every new page.
- Ignore header and footer text. If the software can do 1, then it gets sidetracked by the text in the headers and footers every time it advances to the next page (e.g., copyright notices and page numbers; see figure 1 below).