Anyone know of any good speaking-software?

I use the generic Mac “speaking text” to proof-read my manuscripts. I find I hear mistakes that I haven’t seen with a thousand readings; but I am rather tired of the robotic American voices.

Can anyone reccommend a decent alternative?


  1. Reasonably-priced.
  2. English voices.
  3. Optimised for reading prose, rather than for gimicks.

Regards, Leigh

Have you tried “Alex” in Leopard? It’s a much better sounding voice, imo.

Sorry, but I don’t know of 3rd-party apps in this area because I don’t use them.

Thanks for the tip; I’m sure he’s great, but I haven’t met him yet.
I tend to wait, and upgrade once all the bugs have been ironed out.

“Alex” is quite nice! I’ve never used the computer to read my writing before, because the voices were all so horrifically robotic. Alex definitely does still sound like a computer talking, but there are subtle improvements in how it speaks which make the entire thing of much more use to me. I think I shall make listening part of my writing process from now on. It is, like Leigh said, very useful for finding weak spots.

Yes, still an American voice, but nicely so. It actually takes breaths between paragraphs, other pauses, and employs a reasonable degree of grammar based intonation. He will change pitch and cadence when switching to the parenthetical, for example, or when speaking a quotation. I’ve even noticed it will place emphasis on syllables and words based on writing style, in the manner that a public speaker might do to accentuate a point. I have no idea how it is doing this, and it might just be selective reasoning on my part, but it does seem to be doing some level of heuristics on the text and attempting to read it in a pleasing way, rather than just trudging through phonemes like Mac voices did in the past.

The number of errors is way down. A big problem with the older voices is that often they would pronounce a word so awfully, I would pitch into laughter. Every once in a while it slips up (‘epiphanous’ became ‘epy-fey-nus’ somehow, ha), but actually I think that was the only word it got wretchedly wrong.

Ah, but perhaps there is a lesson about your writing even in the failed pronunciations.

Justly punished for using such a word as ‘epiphanous’!


Alex is the largest single file in leopard by a long stretch. I’ve no idea how speech algorithms work, but judging by this it’s one hell of a complex system: … athes.html

Try: … ceWare_HQM

and … ral-voices

and … speech-pro


and … &os=macosx



whats wrong with epiphanous? I have epiphanous experiences almost on a daily basis.

Only the other-day, I said to my wife( and not for the first time I may add), “Y know something! After all this time, its just dawned on me, that…” To which she sarcastically replied, “Yeah- yeah! I`ll have to start calling you Paul if it continues to happen.”

It was only the other-day, that I suddenly realised how to get Emoticonsinto a post.

Happening all the time.


We’re doomed!

…from the very first day.

Amber and Roy,

For the laugh Ive just had at that, Ill forgive you two anything, anything at all, for the next two weeks.

vic :laughing:

p.s. I think Ill have to pour myself a double Jameson to restore my equilibrium.