Wundervoll! Text to Speech Helps Language Student Learn German

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With TextAloud, Language Learning is Accessible Anywhere.

Learning a new language can be a daunting process -- but the time-honored approach of listening to the language often makes for faster results, improved comprehension, and a better 'ear.' In his studies of the German language, for instance, retired aerospace test systems engineer Paul Harker took this approach a step further, incorporating Text to Speech into his studies using TextAloud software from NextUp Technologies (http://www.NextUp.com).

"TextAloud quickly became a very important part of my learning process," comments Harker, a Michigan native who dedicated himself to learning German, and created an intensive study regimen hinging on TextAloud. Harker utilized TextAloud to incorporate listening to German into his daily routine, both at the desk and on the go, in a variety of truly creative ways. He began the process by installing both English and German Premium Voices in his use of the software, with the German Acapela (R) Premium Voice 'Klaus' set as his 'default' voice. "Then, when reading text on a web page or in an e-mail, whenever I needed to check on how to pronounce the words, I simply played them with TextAloud," he comments. "I could do this easily from within Outlook, Firefox, and Internet Explorer using the TextAloud toolbars, or from other applications using the clipboard monitoring feature."

Harker incorporated the German language into his recreational reading, downloading a variety of eBooks from such websites as Project Gutenberg, and then loading them into TextAloud for handy listening anywhere. "I installed an electronic dictionary, which meant I was able to select an unknown word or phrase for a translation if needed," he adds. He also used TextAloud to read German-language web pages, following along in the written text for greater comprehension.

To amplify his learning process, Harker created a way for TextAloud to actually speak a word in English, and then to repeat the word in German, just as a translator or language tape might do. He also created macros in his Excel workbook to reformat words and phrases into text and audio "flashcards." The text versions were then loaded into a flashcard program (such as Twinkle for the Palm), while the "audio flashcards" files he loaded into TextAloud to automatically convert to audio files which he could then listen to anywhere on his Treo (TM) cellular phone. At the press of a few buttons, he was then able to brush up on his German, both visually and aurally, no matter where he went.

"It was a slightly 'geeky' solution in some ways," he comments, "but the end result is that TextAloud now speaks an English word to me using an English voice, then repeats the word twice in German (using the 'Klaus' German voice). This process allows me enough time to repeat the word out loud, and then finishes by repeating a phrase also incorporating the target word."

"TextAloud is great for learning the proper pronunciations of foreign words no matter what the language," he comments. "In addition, since TextAloud works with all standard text files, all of the steps needed to create word repetitions and other exercises can be automated." The program's scripting tools also allow him to automate aspects like vocal choices, inserted pauses, and speed and volume, as well. "These are invaluable for quickly and efficiently creating a custom language lesson," he explains.

Most of all, Harker appreciates the program's versatility and ease, allowing for listening in whatever setting the user chooses. "I love the fact that TextAloud dutifully creates audio files for all my German-language words and phrases, which I can then sync with iTunes into my Treo and use whenever I have the time and inclination -- and wherever I go." He doesn't just use the software for German, either: "I've also created audio books in English for long car trips with the family."

Harker is now at ease with the German language, and already speaks it at the intermediate level. "The beauty of TextAloud is that it is easy to use for the beginner, and powerful for the advanced user," he comments. "It has simplified every step of my language-learning life. I am no longer tied to the computer, nor do I need to sit down with a book. I can learn on a walk, on a bus, plane, train ... anywhere!" Thanks to TextAloud, Harker was truly able to "hören sie zu und lernen" (listen and learn).

About TextAloud:
Highly useful for students, scientists, writers, business people, students and people from all walks of life -- TextAloud has been featured in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Writer's Digest, on CNN, and more. Hailed by critics and users alike, TextAloud is priced from $29.95, and is compatible with systems using Windows (R) 98, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. TextAloud also works seamlessly with iTunes, for easy synching with iPod (R), iPhone (TM), or other iTunes-compatible portable audio players. The program is available for fast, safe and secure purchase via http://www.NextUp.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional premium voices from AT&T Natural Voices (TM), Nuance (R), Acapela (R) and Cepstral (R) for the most natural-sounding computer speech anywhere. Available languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Indian Accent English, Scottish Accent English, Arabic, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Castilian (European) Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

About NextUp.com
NextUp.com, a division of NextUp Technologies, LLC, provides award-winning Text to Speech software for consumers, professionals, businesses, educators, and those with visual or vocal impairment, or learning disabilities.

In addition to TextAloud, NextUp.com markets other innovative Windows software designed to save time and deliver vital information. NextUp Talker is an easy and affordable program that allows people who have lost their voices to use the latest in high-quality computer voices to communicate with others.

Evaluation copies of TextAloud are available upon request. For more information on NextUp.com or TextAloud, or for other case studies involving users ranging from writers, editors, and teachers, to students, entrepreneurs, firefighters, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, musicians, and more, please contact publicist Angela Mitchell at (904) 982-8043 or via Admitchell at Nextup.com.

All companies and products referenced in this press release are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Media Contact:

Angela Mitchell
Paranoid PR (for NextUp.com)
(904) 982-8043
Admitchell at Nextup.com


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