NextUp Text-to-Speech Helps Firefighter Study for Law Enforcement Test
Fire Marshal John Holohan, 43, chose TextAloud, a text-to-speech software from NextUp, to help maximize his long commutes for study. By using TextAloud to convert text into spoken audio files for listening on his PC, MP3 player, and car CD player, Holohan was able to maximize preparation time for a law enforcement exam.
The test for Supervising Fire Marshal is formidable, involving a thorough understanding of science, law, investigation, logic, and management. Supervising Fire Marshals fulfill a demanding series of duties - from supervisory or administrative work, to detailed investigations, personal response to major alarm fires, and more. "There's a huge amount of knowledge to cover," comments Holohan, "but with TextAloud, I was able to convert all of the documents into speech for later listening and study." Holohan also purchased two premium AT&T Natural Voices, while working with TextAloud's pronunciation editor to personalize diction and pauses. Once he had voices and listening style to his satisfaction, Holohan was able to transfer information into MP3 files, which he loaded onto his MP3 player and also exported to CD for listening in the car.
He then began his studies, listening for two or three hours each day on his daily commutes, as well as during his free time at home or on the go. "Spending this amount of time with the material each day quickly gave me a great familiarity with the information," he comments. "And whenever I did study visually, I already had a built-in understanding of what I was reading." Studying by ear also enabled Holohan to incorporate changes and updates to the material.
Holohan's work paid off - after nearly two years of preparation, he took the test in 2006, and received word recently that he had scored #5 out of 100 test-takers, and with his official promotion as the next step. Meanwhile, he continues his work as a Fire Marshal, managing investigations and working with computer systems while pursuing leads and information, and more. He still uses TextAloud, and even encourages his kids to use it, as well. "When they have a lot of homework, they can export their studies to MP3 players, just as I did!"
TextAloud is compatible with systems using Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. NextUp.com offers TextAloud with optional voices, including numerous accents and languages, from AT&T Natural Voices, NeoSpeech, Nuance, Acapela, and Cepstral.