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NaturalReader is a clear and simple text-to-speech application that reads aloud any text presented in the program’s interface.
NaturalReader is available in a variety of flavors – there is a basic free version (the one used for this review), a personal and a professional edition, and an educational version with extra functionality to help children make the most of the undisputable educational value of TTS applications, especially when it comes to special learning needs. The differences between this version and the commercial editions apply both to the number and the quality of the synthetic voices available, and also (and more significantly) to the amount of tools and options that you can use. However, far from being just the typical limited trial version available with most applications, this free edition is a fully functional tool that neatly covers the needs of those who simply require adding a text-to-speech engine to their system.
Thus, this basic and free version provides you with a flexible tool to listen to any text present in the program’s main screen. You can either load this text from a TXT or a RTF document, or type it in directly. The only voice that comes with this free version is the well-known Microsoft’s Sam, though the program will recognize any other synthetic voices you may have already installed in your computer.
If you are prepared to pay for any of the commercial editions, you will enjoy a variety of useful tools and functions that can only preview from this free version. Thus, you will be able to save the generated audio as a WAV, MP3, or Ogg file, or make use of the pronunciation editor, the WAV to MP3 converter, the file merger, or the built-in audio file editor.
- Simple functionality
- Clear and well-structured interface
- Highlights the sentence and the word that are being read