Today I want to talk to you about something that is not new.
Have you ever had this happen to you? You are aware of an invention or gimmick or App etc, but when you give it a go, it’s in its early days and still shit, so you discard it. You ultimately forget about it. Then suddenly years on you come across it again and it is super awesome?
I did this at the end of last week.
As many of you know I am dyslexic, though not as severe as some, it still causes me some trouble, and it’s a pain in the backside. When I was in school, some years ago, it was recommended to me to have software on my computer that would read the text aloud. I went with this and my dad bought a copy and installed it on the family computer.
Oh god, it sucked.
It was slow, janky, and the voice was so robotic its mispronunciations were almost funny. It was more of a hindrance than a help. So, say, I quickly discarded it.
Last week I accidentally stumbled across the Microsoft Word Read Aloud feature and holy crap, this is so much better than that ancient software all those years ago!
The speaking speed is so much faster (like an actual speaking person), the voice so much smoother (though still a bit robotic), and it responds to punctuation now! It has come a long way in the last few years.
But best of all, it is now super helpful, as was originally intended. I’ve been using it to read through all my work documents and emails. I’ve also started going through all my current Work in Progress chapters, short stories, and blog posts. It’s great at getting me to spot mistakes that I might miss with reading alone, and it helps me see where I need to put punctuation that I might have missed.
I would strongly recommend, even for those with no difficulties like dyslexia. It’s still super helpful.
If you’re not sure how to access this in Word just go into the help/search function and type Read Aloud, it’s easy! I’ve added it to my quick command menu along with save and print to make it extra quick.
I would recommend the Microsoft Word feature, as I have also downloaded a read-aloud app, which reads just fine, but I cannot edit the document. This means I have to have the app and a word processor open at the same time and jump between the two. Whereas the Word feature lets you pause the speaker for edits.
Give it a go, I’m confident it is helpful.