Google Translate is Google’s free automatic translation tool. The tool leverages state of the art technology to enable users to translate between up to 57 different languages. Thanks to a recent update, its text-to-speech feature, which uses a speech engine to convert text into human dialect, has expanded support for a total of 40 languages. Despite this enhancement, nagging flaws and infrequent updates are just some of the reasons Google Translate is not considered a reliable communication tool for marketers looking to take their efforts worldwide.
If there is one thing to like about Google Translate, it would be the fact that the service costs nothing at all to use. Luckily, we have rounded up a few text-to-speech solutions that are not only totally free to use, but more reliable for your marketing needs.
Developed by NaturalSoft, NaturalReader Free is hands down one of the best programs on the free text-to-speech market. This application is capable of converting text from virtually any type of document, including those found on MS Word files, web pages, and even email messages. But what most people like about this software is its ease of use. With the implementation of one-click technology, all you have to do is select your text, press your designated hotkey, and the software will start reading the text.
iSpeech Free is the free version of iSpeech’s premium text-to-speech solution. Just like the premium edition, the free version takes a user-friendly approach to converting text. With iSpeech Free, there is no downloading or installing of any software. Simply copy the text you want read back to you, paste it in a box, and the system will automatically convert it for you. iSpeech also allows you to upload and convert entire documents at no cost.
Another free text-to-speech tool we like is ReadPlease. You’ll have to download this one to your hard drive and install it, but from there, everything is pretty much a hassle-free process. Like iSpeech, converting text with this application is basically a matter of copying and pasting. However, ReadPlease has much more to offer. Features such as the ability to adjust voice speed, customize font and color, and integrate text-to-speech functionality into your website allows this tool to stand out from the crowd.
Last but not least is eSpeak. We felt compelled to put this one on the list because like Google Translate, it supports a wide variety of foreign languages. With eSpeak, you can easily convert text in languages ranging from Albanian and Croatian to Turkish and Welsh. And similar to other options on the list, this software is incredibly easy to use, making the conversion process as simple as copying, pasting, and clicking.
The inclusion of additional language support for text-to-speech obviously makes Google Translate a more attractive option, but it still has a long way to go before it can be relied on as an everyday business tool. On the bright side, there are more than enough alternatives available to make up for it shortcomings.
About the Author: Chiko Noguchi is a best practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of email marketing services.