Balabolka is a software that you can download for free that helps converts text-to-speech output. The software works with any voice install on your PC. The software uses the SAPI 4 and 5 voices developed for the Microsoft operating system. These voice are high quality, and come in versions for languages other than English. SAPI 5 voices sound far superior than the older SAPI 4 voices supported by MS Agent.
Balabolka can read in about 30 different languages, but you need to have a voice on your computer to be able to read in those languages as well.:
|Catalan||Chinese (Simplified)||Chinese (Traditional)||Croatian|
|Polish||Portuguese (Brazil)||Portuguese (Portugal)||Romanian|
The software can accommodate translation from the following file types:
AZW, AZW3, CHM, DjVu, DOC, DOCX, EML, EPUB, FB2, HTML, LIT, MOBI, ODS, ODT, PDB, PRC, PDF, RTF, TCR, WPD, XLS, XLSX
When the Balabolka translates these files the graphics and structure of the original document are stripped out, leaving only the text. You can open a URL and all text from the html is presented for speech output. You can then edit what text you want to hear read, like in any text editor.
Voice Changes. One can alter the voice by changing to another SAPI voice, or one can alter each individual voice. You can change the reading speed, pitch, and volume.
Once you have a file opened in Balabolka you can select a portion of the file or the whole thing and converted to an audio file. You can generate a variety of auto outputs: WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA files
Foreign Language Translation
You can translate languages one word at a time: The options are to translate to and from the following languages:
English, Esperanto, Estonia, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Yiddish.
Additional Tools to Try
Another tool is called the Spritz Reader. It allows the text to appear one word sat a time, so that you only see the word being voiced. This is an elementary way of learning to read, but can benefit those who have trouble focusing on the text as it is read.
More sophisticated uses allow for tags to alter what language, pitch, speed and volume a piece of text is read. Say for instance you have more than one language, or more than one character in a book. You can tag those sections to read with separate voices.
Belabolka’s Demo at Point of Access