Getting information into my head faster?
February 11, 2015 8:50 PM   Subscribe

I use text-to-speech (TTS) on my phone to read books and articles while I'm walking. Is there a more efficient way to translate text into sound that would allow me to listen to the text faster? Is there any research on this? Are there any products to look into?

It crossed my mind today that there might be a way to convert text into sound that would allow me to listen to the text faster. I just keep imaging a system where phonemes are sung into my ear.
posted by gregr to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This coder who is blind uses a TTS system that is very clipped and fast. I can't keep up with it at all.
posted by zsazsa at 8:57 PM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

There's an iOS app called SpeedUpTV that will play video (and, I think, MP3) back at rates from 0.5x to 2x without altering the pitch. It's very inexpensive and it is actively maintained and has a boatload of features I never use. I don't know if there's a text-to-speech converter in there or not.

Also: I've not used it, but I believe that iOS has an innate Speak Screen option under Accessibility which is variable rate and works with Safari and iBooks.
posted by doctor tough love at 10:35 PM on February 11, 2015

I use FBreader and FBreader TTS plugin with Ivona voices on Android. This gives me the ability to change both the speed and pitch of the voice. Typically anything close to 2x normal speed seems uncomfortable to me.
posted by Yavsy at 10:48 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding the speed-up. Most TTS apps support this, because although they take practice, you can easily listen up to 2x normal speed with no losses. Source: my wife is blind.
posted by Mogur at 4:56 AM on February 12, 2015

Thirding, blind buddies play text-based mmorpgs that involve huge amounts of text flying up the "screen" at a pace where incan only grasp occasional words. She isn't just taking it in, she's reacting to it on the fly in really time.
posted by Iteki at 5:51 AM on February 12, 2015

....but it will take you a month or so to become comfortable with TTS that fast.
posted by Jesse the K at 7:25 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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