Text2Go Makes the Commute More Productive

Because of Mark Gladding’s hour-long commute to and from work each day, he wanted something that would help him use his time more productively. So he created Text2Go, which converts online text, such as news, books, or articles, to speech so so he could listen to it through an iPod or MP3 player. Though the product has been on the market for about 18 months, the latest version, Text2Go 3.0, complete with a pronunciation correcting application, was just released.

When Gladding, the founder of Tumbywood Software in Melbourne, Australia, tried existing text-to-speech applications, he found that they had been primarily designed for reading text aloud while sitting at the computer. He created Text2Go to get information from his computer to his iPod so he could listen to software development articles published on the Internet during his commute.

Here’s how it works. When Text2Go is installed on a computer, a little icon shows up in the Internet Explorer toolbar. "Whenever you find a Web page you want to listen to, you simply select the text on the page and click the Text2Go button in the toolbar," Gladding wrote in an email. "The text will be converted to speech and an MP3 file created. If you have an iPod, the file will be automatically imported into iTunes. It will even be placed in a designated playlist so it doesn’t get lost in your music library."

When using Text2Go 3.0, Gladding recommends using a high-quality computerized voice as opposed to the free voices that come with Microsoft Windows, which tend to be robotic and mispronounce words. "Even the best voices will occasionally mispronounce words," Gladding says.

That common mispronunciation of acronyms, slang, or brand names is why the newest version has a pronunciation editor with an automatic update service. Corrections are also automatically shared with other Text2Go users, which gets more corrections to the public than one organization could provide.  

Since people from all kinds of fields will ideally use the software, experts within these communities can quickly and easily correct pronunciations, which are then sent to all others within those communities. The corrections are distributed in the same way as most antivirus program updates, uploading new corrections to the Text2Go server every few days.

The program runs on a PC and costs $25 for the basic program or $45 with a high-quality voice.

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