Following on from our last tech review: Speechify. We thought it only fair to give some other examples of text to speech services. This was the task we set for Tony McGovern and this was what he had to tell us.

What is Natural Reader?

Founded in Vancouver, Canada, Natural Reader in an online screen reader for those with reading difficulties. It is an online based service. You can download software for your devices: Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.

Extensions can be installed into the web browser. Natural Reader provides widgets (for WordPress) and coding for your personal website to facilitate a built-in screen reader.

Getting started

Natural Reader provides free and paid options for its services. Content can be uploaded and documents / text listened to for free. There are monthly and yearly plans. Yearly plans are cheaper in the long run.

The service Natural Reader has over 50 voices and 27 languages available as listening options as well as a number of natural voices.

When uploading content to be read, users can alter the settings which include:

  • font sizes
  • dyslexia friendly fonts
  • speed of the voice
  • dark mode and more

Text can be converted to MP3 format and listened to it on the go.

What can Natural Reader be used for?

Natural Reader has really explored the concept of screen readers. Audience members can use Natural Reader to read web pages, emails, pdfs and a number of online content they wish to listen to.

This works for people with no or low vision, dyslexia and people who are always on the move who want to make the most of their time.

Natural Reader has a voice editor which can add multiple voices for a unique voiceover. You can type text and listen to Natural Reader read it aloud.

The voice editor can be slowed down and sped up, as well as altering the generated voice for emphasis, volume and pitch. This has great potential for movie makers, content generators, e-learners, social media videos and many types of project. There are a number of voices to choose from, both AI generated or natural, as well as several languages.

Natural Reader offers coding and extensions which are ideal for any developer looking to make their services and website(s) more accessible.

Privacy Issues

Like all services offered, Natural Reader collects relevant information to provide the available services as well as processing any orders, improvements to and updating of the services available. Natural Reader does not sell any of your information to other marketers.

Students information is the minimal amount of information required to use the products available. You can request, review and update any information Natural Reader may hold about you and Natural Reader does not hold information longer than necessary.

Conclusion

As a resource, Natural Reader is useful and it goes beyond the normal screen reader offering. With options of both free and paid plans, you will not be left out.

The online Natural Reader works very well. It has simple controls and functions which are easy to use and manipulate.

Speechify Comparison

Speechify and Natural Reader are similar. Both offer multiple voices and languages for online reading. The controls or each are simple, easy to use and accessible. You are able to alter the voice and voice speed in both screen readers.

Having tried both, personally I found the Speechify voice’s to be more pleasing to listen to. I did notice Natural Reader offers more options for its screen reading abilities, such as:

  • voice editor
  • conversion of text to MP3, and
  • web accessibility options for developers

The last factor to consider is pricing. Speechify offers a free trial and paid plans to use its service whilst Natural Reader offers a free option and paid plans.

When considering which service to use: Natural Reader or Speechify. I have considered the additional features, voices, controls, and the payment/free options. My choice would be Natural Reader. Naturally!


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