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APPS: a review

One of the obstacles with apps is it seems like many of them were not made for the purpose of full time conversation with the land of the speaking. Mind you, if i'm going to have a more lengthy conversation i head to my tablet. On the other hand, i sometimes dont have my tablet with me. If we are out and about and on the go, if i'm on a walk, i am using my phone app and want ease of use and rapid fire, well as rapid as my thumbs will let me go! Note that i am an iPhone user, so android only apps are not on my radar.

There are many 'text reader' apps out there now, such as Speechify. These are NOT designed for communication, but rather for reading aloud. There are some such as NaturalReader, that do let you enter text and hit 'play' - but the interface is cumbersome at best if trying to use this for conversation. 

We are also on this precipice of AI generating voices for everything. So there seem to be an increasingly growing array of apps that are designed for business voiceovers. Again, they are not dynamic programs for conversation.

Basic items of importance in an app :

  • ability to load my own voice

  • if choosing from a preset voice, natural sounding voices with multiple options.

  • standard keyboard: your thumbs get used to the size of the standard keyboard of your phone. i dont want to be hunting and pecking!

  • keyboard fixed: seems like a no brainer, but quite a few of the text to speech apps (that are not designed for conversation) are designed so the keyboard must retract and then you hit a 'play' button. it's not viable to do this after every phrase or sentence. 

  • 'speak' with a double space / period

  • easy thumb access 'speak' button

  • scrolling list of 'spoken' phrases. this enables you to skip back and push 'speak' again on phrases said a moment or two ago. this is just so handy, i guess we repeat ourselves alot, or people dont listen. i dont know, but turns out to be extremely useful.

  • (or at least) 'repeat last phrase' button. you think they were paying attention, but they weren't! or they just couldn't understand you.

  • pitch + speed adjustments

  • autofill / autopredict - just like MS applications do!

  • programmed abbreviation shortcuts

Wish list features :

  • use of app inline with phone calls

  • use of app inline with facetime

  • use of app inline with zoom and teams

  • automatic pull in of Message Banked phrases. For example, i have my native voice recording of my daughters names. So each time i type in 'Siena' it would say it in my native voice rather than synthesized. Some tablet apps do have this feature, but i have found it to be glitchy at best.

  • tone of voice settings. ie quick way to select a tone of voice such as question, happy, sad, sarcastic, etc.

  • inline translation to other languages

KEEP DREAMING features:

  • integrated lip reading

  • integrated facial recognition tone of voice. ie happy, sad, angry based on facial expressions

I WELCOME other speech app users to contact me with your own feedback, i would love to make this space as comprehensive as possible! 

name
link
platform
cost
PROS
CONS
SayIt!
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sayit-easy-aac/id1119303404
iOS
free
Speech Assistant AAC
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speech-assistant-aac/id1139762358
iOS + android
$22.99
* -
* have not purchased
Talk for Me
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/talk-for-me-text-to-speech/id975096888
iOS
$1.99
*can use for phone calls *person you are calling can hear background noise as well as the voice.
*voice options require separate downloads *voices are robotic *placement of 'speak' button is awkward for rapid fire *requires 'clear' after every phrase *when using for call you have to first tap undo then clear to start a new phrase, very cumbersome
Speak (voice synthesizer)
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speak-speech-synthesizer/id806819422
iOS
free
*free
*preset voices are robotic same variety as many other apps *no ability to 'speak' with a double space/period
Voice Keeper
https://www.thevoicekeeper.com/adults
iOS + android
free
*use of custom VoiceKeeper synthesized voice OR stock voice
*cumbersome to use, you must delete each phrase manually after speaking it.
Text to Speech!
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech/id712104788
iOS
free
*good speak button placement *speaks on periods
*preset voices only *horrible preset voice options
TTSPhone
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ttsphone-text-to-speech-phone/id1558358112
iOS
free
*phone speaking app
SpeakUnique
https://www.speakunique.co.uk/using-your-voice/speakunique-app/
iOS + android
free WITH VOICE PURCHASE

Didn't make the cut...

This is a list of apps that i tried for a second or two and are not even worth mentioning. many are just not designed as a communication device, rather just for voiceovers or i have no idea what. 

  • Narrator's Voice

  • Natural Reader

  • Speechify

  • Voice Dream Reader

  • Voice Aloud Reader

  • Murf.ai

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