Listening to your own paper
I’m sure many of you already know about the ‘Read Out Loud’ capability of Adobe Acrobat. I’ve been doing so much writing lately (a dissertation chapter) that I end up reading the same passages over and over again and can’t think of ways to fix problem areas or, worse, I miss glaring errors staring me right in the face.
So, i’ve started copying/pasting specific passages of text into a new document, converting it to a PDF, and then listening to it. Sometimes I think of new (once in a while, better) ways to say what I want to say. Other times, it’s not so fruitful. But….it’s another little tip that seems to help me produce better technical writing. The key is to only do a couple paragraphs at a time….the computer-guy voice (like from that Radiohead album) gets a little hard to listen to after a couple minutes.
The screenshot above simply shows where this functionality is in Acrobat.
If the voice was more realistic and easier to listen to, I would love to be able to download a paper as an mp3 and then listen to it on the train ride. Is anybody doing such a thing out there?
UPDATE: I found this ultra-easy web application that converts any text to mp3, which you can listen to right away or download to listen later. It’s called vozMe. I tested it, the voice is pretty similar to one I discuss above. Okay…but still not sounding very human…yet.