ttsMP3 is a brilliant text to speech tool. First, you can select from loads of different languages across a variety of accents like American and Welsh. Input your text, choose your voice from the dropdown, then click Read to hear it. If you’re happy, click Download as MP3 to grab the recording.
The standout feature here though is the ability to use syntax to change the voice. You can emphasize words, change the pitch, create conversations, and much more. That’s because the service is powered by Amazon Polly. You can view some example syntax on the ttsMP3 site, or check out the full list on Amazon’s Supported SSML Tags page.
You can convert up to 375 words or 3000 characters a day for free. If you need more, you can either wait for it to reset or pay for a membership—curiously, you can only get either a 24-hour plan or an annual plan.
Text 2 Voice does what it says on the tin. Input up to 2000 characters into the text box—a counter beneath the box shows how much you’ve used and if you need more from a single conversion then you’ll have to pay.
Beneath, use the Language and Regions dropdown, and then select from the Voices list alongside. Once done, click the yellow Convert to speech button. This might take a short while if you’ve written a lot. When it’s ready, the audio will automatically play.
You can also expand the options for Additional Audio Settings (change between MP3 and OGG and change the sample rate) and Additional Voice Settings (voice speed and voice effect). If you do alter these, click Convert to speech again to process the change before clicking Download MP3/OGG.
Text 2 Speech is a simple service, but it does the job well. Input your text (up to 4000 characters) select from a small range of voices, choose the talking speed, and give the resulting audio file a name. When ready, click Start.
You’ll then be taken to a new results page where you can play the audio. If you’re not happy, click Back to start to begin again and make any necessary changes.
If all is good, you can then download the file in either MP3 or WAV format. The site shows you the file size of each. Both should be relatively small, but if you want the smallest then go for MP3.
Festvox is part of a project at Carnegie Mellon University’s speech group. Their text to speech tool is a bit outdated now, especially as the voices sound a bit robotic, but it still does a quick and simple job if that’s what you need.
There are some limitations. While there’s no specified character limit, it doesn’t convert anything if you input a huge amount of text. Also, though there is a dropdown to choose audio format, whatever you select will output as a WAV—but that’s fine since it’s a common and lightweight file format.
Once you’ve popped your text in, and chosen your voice, click Synthesize to download the file. If your file shows as 0 KB and/or doesn’t play any audio, it means you’ve used too many characters. Go back and reduce the amount of text.
Kukarella requires you to sign up before you can use the service, but that’s okay since it’s free (for up to 2000 characters), quick, and ultimately worthwhile. Once signed up and logged in, click the Convert Text to Voice button on the homepage.
Since Kukarella is powered by Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, that means you can choose from a good number of different voices in many languages. Some are only available on a paid membership, but the free service has a large enough choice.
Above where you input your text, note that you can switch to the Voices with Effects tab. Here you can highlight your text and apply effects (like emphasis or whisper) to specific parts. Once done, click Convert to process everything, and you can then play the clip and click the Download icon to grab the MP3.
Hearling is the second version of a text to speech tool called Sound of Text (which is still a good choice, but very basic). You need to sign up for a free account which grants you 5000 characters per month of standard voices and 1250 characters per month of the more advanced WaveNet voices.
Once logged in, head to the Clips page and click New Clip. Choose your language, the dialect, and the voice, then click Next. On the right-hand panel, input the text that you wish to convert. When ready, click Synthesize Clips.
You’ll be taken to a Download Clips page, where you can choose to Play and Download your clip as an MP3 file. If you’re not happy with the output, click Start Over to try again. You can return to this page whenever you like to view all your previously created clips, though you will need to pay if you want to download them all at once in a ZIP.
The Best Free Speech to Text Software
Whichever of these services you choose, you’re in good hands. Here’s a little tip: even if you exhaust your free limit on one of them, you can simply move to the next