Not all text to speech tools come with a comprehensive list of features. Some are more simple, delivering a basic service for those who need it. That's the route Read Aloud decided to take. Read Aloud is a non-profit, open-source TTS tool that launched in 2008. The organization is located in Alden, Michigan. Unlike other TTS software you'll find, Read Aloud is a basic tool anyone can use, and it's free.
But is it worth forgoing the paid versions of text to speech software? Here's a look at a quick comparison between Read Aloud vs. ioAudio.
Browser-Based Text to Audio Tool
What sets Read Aloud apart from many of the other TTS platforms is its design. It's not a platform you log into and save audio for later consumption. Users can add the extension to their web browser (Chrome, Edge, or Firefox). Once installed, users can "read aloud" web pages with articles, blogs, news, stories, and other content. It can also read from text in PDFs, Google Docs, Amazon Kindle, EPUB files, and Google Play books.
ioAudio works with web pages and a range of different file formats. This includes photos and scanned documents (thanks to its OCR technology).
Promoting Children to Read More Daily
Read aloud can be used by anyone, but the organization targets children. Its mission is to promote children to read at least 15 minutes per day, which is the new standard for child development. The tool can be used to read text on your screen by visiting websites or uploading content directly to it. The system also features text highlighting to make it easier for children to follow along as it reads.
ioAudio's platform enables you to copy and paste text, paste a hyperlink, or attach a document to be converted into audio.
Support for Over 40 Languages
Read Aloud doesn't just target English-speaking consumers. It comes with over 40 different language options, making it ideal for just about anyone to read. Users may also find it helpful for learning a second language. It also comes with a variety of natural-sounding voices to choose from.
ioAudio doesn't have a large base of voices or languages, but it does have natural-sounding English-speaking female and male voices.
Paid vs. Free TTS Tools
When it comes time to choose between using a paid or free text to speech software, you'll need to consider several things. For instance, if you're looking for a platform that collects your audio and enables you to share it with others, and provides a host of other features, then free TTS tools aren't for you.
Read Aloud is one freebie that's worth checking out if you're looking for a quick, short-term solution.
ioAudio is a more comprehensive platform that offers all the bells and whistles needed for parents, workers, students, and everyday users. This includes features like:
- Creating threads and playlists to consume and share with others
- Importing emails directly to convert into audio
- Booking time on your calendar to schedule when you'll listen to audio
- Automated document summaries and editing
Don't take our word for it -- check it out for yourself by signing up for a free trial!