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Text-to-Speech Customization in OSX Lion


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Recently, I was going through the Speech settings on my iMac because I wanted to try out some different voices for text-to-speech (my kids get a kick out of it) when I discovered the magical word ‘Customize’. My curiosity led me to an area in the System Voice settings that would allow me to change the voice to any number of languages as well as accents. Just open System Preferences, then go down to Speech and choose the Text to Speech tab. From the menu you can choose from default or recent voices, or you can go to Customize for a plethora of additional options.

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Scrolling down through your choices you will see Novelty Voices.

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Some of these voices or sounds are a hoot! I tried Hysterical, and any text I chose to be read aloud was read in the voice and manner of someone having a fit of hysterical laughter. That was funny for a couple of sentences, then it soon became annoying as heck!

I loved the Australian, Scottish and Irish accents, though, as well as the robotic Zarvox and alien Trinoids.

If you’re unfamiliar with using text-to-speech on your Mac, simply highlight a block of text (no matter how big), right-click and choose Speech, then choose Start Speaking. Your Mac will read aloud your text in whatever voice you have pre-chosen. You can also use the speech settings to have your Mac tell you the time out loud on the hour, half or quarter hour.

I had a good laugh having my Mac read aloud some jokes in different accents, but I’m sure you can find more mature ways of using this awesome feature!

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