I know I haven’t updated for a few days, but I have a good reason. I’ve been editing my book, and making the changes necessary to make it a smooth read.
When in the process of reviewing my work, I find reading my work aloud to be the best way to catch mistakes. There is also a problem with that. When you read your own work, you may skip crucial mistakes because your brain sees/ reads the word as what you meant to put in the sentence. I find this happens to be a lot when it comes to words like definitely/ defiantly, probably/ possibly and so on. These can make or break a sentence, and are important to catch.
Sticking with reviewing my work and listening to how it sounds I decided I needed a program that could read my work back to me.
That’s where Natural Reader came to my rescue.
Before I start this review, I want to say I’m not sponsored by Natural Reader and therefore they aren’t paying me anything to review their product. I just thought, as a aspiring writer to other aspiring writers, this would be a helpful product review if you’re looking for a similar solution to this problem.
So, l let’s begin.
There’s a Free Version:
Natural Reader starts out with a free version which allows you to use the text-to-speech option but limits you on the voice you can use… which in the free version is 0.
This pissed me off, since the whole reason I wanted to use this product was for the text-to-speak option. They give you sample voices, which reads you 5000 words a day on the free version. That wasn’t going to cut it for me, but from using the free version I knew that I would use the paid version without argument.
So, summing up this section is the free version is a great place to start but if you want more out of the program go for the paid version.
Now, the basic voices you get with Personal version ($69.00) has two voices.
The Professional version ($129.50) appears to be the most popular coming with your choice of four voices.
The version I went with – because I listen to everything in my life – was the Ultimate ($199.50). This allows you to choose six voices.
The voices range in quality and languages: UK English, US English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Arabic – and more.
The ones I chose were of the US English and UK English variety. The voices vary in quality, and since I find listening to US English to be equivalent to the teacher from Farris Bueller’s Day Off, I usually find myself using the UK English voices – mostly Graham and Rosie.
Who doesn’t want a stuffy old British guy named Graham reading you a story?
Voices can be sped up or slowed down. I find a comfortable listening level to be -1 but some people may enjoy a faster paced read. Since I’m listening for editing, this slower pace gives me a chance to pause the reader without getting to far ahead of where I found the mistake.
There are a few pronunciation errors that are annoying in regards to using these voices (which I just discovered while doing this review can be edited in the Pronunciation Editor). Still, each voice will have their issues, but the ones I have noticed are as follows:
- Argue – when read by UK Rosie she exaggerates the UE at the end. (She sounds super excited about it too).
- Putting – UK Graham likes to say puting… which makes for some interesting sentences.
- To Be – when placed together for Rosie and Graham sounds like Toby or To Bree.
- ‘er – they all say ‘single quote ER’
- Symbols – When using symbols like single quotes, dashes, slashes and interrobangs the voices may say them.
In my opinion having only that many pronunciation issues in 33,000 words isn’t bad. They follow the punctuation well, and inflect their voices when asking questions. They pause at commas and dashes (sometimes), and they stop for a moment at periods.
All in all the voices impress me, asides from the roboticness of them. They are easy to listen to, and I’ve found a lot of errors thanks to Graham.
Love how simple it is to use.
They have videos on their website that shows you how to use the program, but I honestly didn’t need it.
You can use simple keyboard commands to do pretty much anything and simply pressing the SPACE BAR will start or stop the reader.
If you are worried that this will take up a lot of drive space, or slowdown your system you will be pleasantly surprised.
It really doesn’t.
My laptop is almost 8 years old and runs Natural Reader with no issues. I also have tons of space left on my hard-drive for other editing and writing programs.
This also is available for PC, Mac and your phone (IPod or Android).
As stated above there are all kinds of versions, each with their own differences.
The program starts with Free and goes to $199.50.
All – except the Free – versions come with helpful writing assistance like spell-check and word prediction. The program can read you back websites like this blog, or other sites that interest you. They also allow for you to import E-books!
For all these features and more, it really is worth the price they are selling this at.
Updates during the first six-months are free!
I would give this product a 9/10 – since there are places they can improve and change to make the product better (voices mostly). Also no one is perfect.
I don’t regret purchasing this product and if you have the same problem with editing that I was having, I would suggest checking this program out.
I’ll just add – I wouldn’t be suggesting or reviewing this product if I thought it was crap… Natural Reader has changed the way I do editing, and has made me a better writer for being able to hear my mistakes.
If this review has peaked your interest check-out the Natural Reader website and see for yourself through using the Free version how much easier it is to edit your work.