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Naked_Whale_Tamer's avatar

If you have a Mac, do you use the speech function to proof your work?

Asked by Naked_Whale_Tamer (395points) February 8th, 2014

(apologies in advance for the prolix question)

I have a Mac, and one of its capabilities is the speech function.

I highlight an area that I want spoken aloud, press a key combination and the area is verbalized (I happen to use the ‘Jill’ voice which is the least robotic voice I’ve ever heard).

I catch many errors and even missing punctuation marks. ‘Jill’ briefly pauses for commas, a longer pause for periods and uplifts ‘her’ voice for question marks. Or when I used ‘of’ instead of ‘have’.

So if what I wrote doesn’t sound correct, I’ll add or delete commas. I found several errors in this question when the text was verbalized. In the last sentence, I had omitted the ‘was’ in-between ‘text and ‘verbalized (“alone when the text was verbalized”).

Also, when I hear what I had written, I notice when a sentence or paragraph doesn’t flow properly.

I think there’s a non-free application for Windows (Naturally Speaking). If you have a Windows OS, would you buy (and use) a package to detect your typing mistakes?

Spelling checkers are great, but they won’t detect multiple words as in my above sentence that originally was “I highlight an an area”. I didn’t catch the error visually, but I heard the error.

Also, ‘Jill’ verbalizes e.g. and i.e. which is great when you used one in the wrong context.

Sadly, there is no software that can detect poor writing skills or homonyms (e.g., their, there, they’re). But “Jill” articulates “there” and “they’re” slightly differently.

I wonder how many errors I’ve made in this question that I didn’t detect?

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6 Answers

Pachy's avatar

I sometimes use the speech function on my iPhone, but I never use it on my iMac. My work calls for me to do a lot of proofing, and I’ve been doing it way too long with my eyes to let “Jill” do it. Plus, I find that feature very annoying. Of course, that may be a generational thing.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

There’s a Free Software program called Festival. It’s source is available from the University of Edinburgh site. Apparently various builds for Windows are available, and if you’re using a functional operating system it’s probably available from your package manager. There’s also an open-source Java program called FreeTTS.
I’ve never used a TTS program for proofreading, but I have used it to turn ebooks into audiobooks.

MadMadMax's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius

Wow do I need something like that.

I wonder how good the speaking voice. As a low vision person I would need something of the quality level of Mac’s “Jill.”

gondwanalon's avatar

I’ve only used it a couple of times. For important things I let my wife proof read it. I need all the help that I can get. I’m very sloppy and I just can’t seem to see all of my mistakes.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

@MadMadMax There are many different voices available for Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95IL9NucK5o

pleiades's avatar

I do not, I don’t trust it :) But I’m also a former copy editor at my community college

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