TextAloud Helps Blind Calgary PC User Enjoy His Newspapers

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Text to Speech software provides access to news and entertainment, with natural-sounding voices

Some screen readers for the visually disabled can be limited in their voice qualities and features. Text to Speech programs like TextAloud from NextUp.com, however, can offer excellent assistive support to the visually disabled, as well as more flexibility on voice quality and choices. This is why 44-year-old Calgary resident Lee Veitch sought out TextAloud to help him to listen to his documents, as well as to supplement his screen readers. For Lee, who battles a visual disability as well as severe arthritis, the program has now become a mainstay.

"At first, I tried it as a novelty," Lee comments. "Then I used it to provide myself with more realistic speech than can be obtained with a plain screen reader." Lee's experience with the Premium Voices was so positive that he soon purchased more voices. "TextAloud allows me to copy the text from multiple sources," comments Lee, "which I then convert to MP3 format. I can then burn the MP3s to CD to listen to 'on the go' with my portable CD player. The clarity and pronunciation make for a pleasant listening and learning experience."

TextAloud is the easy and affordable PC software that helps users export almost any text into speech files for listening via CD, computer, iPod (R), iPhone (R), and more. TextAloud has proven especially helpful as an assistive technology for Lee against his blindness. "As a blind/visually impaired user, I am very happy with TextAloud, as its speech engines are far superior to my screen reader's voices," Lee comments. "I appreciate the natural-sounding voices, complete with proper inflections -- and (yes, I'll say it) even 'feeling.'"

Lee's system for utilizing TextAloud is simple and effective. He saves the texts from his e-mails, PDFs, and favorite websites, as well as his favorite articles from local newspapers, in a week's worth of content at a time. He then uses TextAloud to output that content to MP3 files for later listening, using separate and specific Premium Voices for each type of content. This way, he can instantly distinguish between e-mails, newspapers, and other website content as he listens to the files via CD as well as computer. "The ability to choose multiple voice engines can also break up the monotony of long articles," he adds, "and different voices for different articles can help to distinguish between work-related and personal documents. I'm able to convert directly to audio file without having to use expensive or multiple programs to get the same result."

Lee utilizes several of TextAloud's useful features to streamline his work, like the shortcut keys that enable users to play, pause or export an article with the single press of a button. "The voices are exceptional," he adds, "and each voice can be personalized or tweaked enough to give the impression of a real person reading aloud."

For more effective use of TextAloud in conjunction with his screen reader, Lee personalizes his programs, turning off text highlighting in TextAloud , while turning off status updates in his screen reader. This ensures that the screen reader won't read the text at the same time that TextAloud is reading its text, or speaking aloud information on such aspects as 'percentage completed' or 'current progress.'

"Ultimately, TextAloud has provided me with the freedom from having to sit in front of my PC for countless hours listening to my stuff," says Lee. "It's great to have the freedom to listen on the go!"

About TextAloud:
With a completely new interface including more personalization options than ever before, TextAloud is the highly useful PC program for students, scientists, writers, business people, students and people from all walks of life. TextAloud enables anyone to experience their reading by listening, and 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. System requirements include almost any version of Windows (R) (from 98 to Me, NT, 2000, XP or Vista), as well as a minimum of 64 MB of RAM, 10 MB of disk space, and a sound card. TextAloud can even be listened to on TV, using TiVo's (R) Home Media Option, and works seamlessly with iTunes (R), for easy synchronizing with iPod (R), iPhone (R), or other iTunes (R)-compatible portable audio players. Best of all, unlike prohibitively priced gadgets or eReaders, TextAloud doesn't require special hardware of any kind. Become a fan at http://www.Facebook.com/TextAloud, or try the program today, via a fast, safe and secure preview and purchase at http://www.NextUp.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional Premium Voices from Nuance RealSpeak (TM), AT&T Natural Voices (TM), 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, Basque, Catalan, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Castilian (European) Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, 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 (R) software designed to save time and deliver vital information. NextUp Talker is an easy and affordable program that enables people who have lost their voices to use the latest in high-quality computer voices to communicate aloud with others.

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

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

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ANGELA MITCHELL
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