Having a programmer in the house can be handy!
Hubby has written an online utility which, combined with a (free) voice synthesizer, will dictate text at the speed you choose.
It does this by adding time between the words rather than slowing down the words. (Slowing down the words too much becomes incomprehensible.)
Functional rather than fancy, but reliable. (I notice he’s even put in code for invalid entries, but haven’t tested it.)
Enter the text on the page as the form says. Hit “Translate”.
Copy the resulting text into a text-to-speech program such as Cepstral. It has to recognize SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language, similar to HTML and XML. More here:
The program replaces spaces with the “break” command. Not sure he included other whitespace or what happens if there is more than one space in a row. (He also did dishes that night, so I didn’t get too picky.)
I use Ceptsral’s SwiftTalker.
They have an online demo at
that sends you a wav file.
To get SwiftTalker, download and install any of their free voices; it gets installed with the voice. If using a free voice, it sticks “buy me” in every now and then.
SwiftTalker will save to a wav file. (File / Export) Audacity or Nero should be able to convert it to MP3 or a CD or whatever.
You may have to go into “tools / options / text handling ” so it handles SSML. You can also play around with the speed in WPM. Lots of things to play with.
I tried calculating wpm vs break using my own formula, but obviously missed a variable or three because it didn’t match experimental data. If anyone wants to record some numbers showing Ceptsral’s wpm, delay time, and actual results, I’ll post the results.
When and if we re-organize the site, there might be a nicer front-end to the program, with more instructions. You will be able to reach it through www.cricket.onebit.ca, search for the word “dictation”.
I asked him to handle up to 500 words. It might handle more.
I look forward to hearing whether this works. I can probably get him to improve it next weekend or the one after, if I do dishes, so please give us feedback.