Giving sound to the written word
Over the years, technology has opened several doors of opportunities, convenience, and learning. Text-to-speech software can be quite helpful for the visually impaired and dyslexic people. Beyond that, it can help people learn a language or overcome language barriers. At times, you don’t want to rush through long-form textual content. A text-to-speech program can let you listen to a document while you continue attending to other tasks. With several options online, it can be overwhelming to choose the right software. Balabolka, a popular tool, is one program that can make that decision easier.
Does Balabolka live up to the expectations?
Articulated, clear speech with multiple voice options.
Based on SAPI—Microsoft’s speech API—Balabolka comes with several changes designed to improve articulation and clarity of speech generated. The default settings include Microsoft Anna to convert text to speech. To check error correction and spelling, it uses VBScript, making it compatible with a wide range of spell-checkers. While using the program, you can also work with high-quality TTS voices.
Developers working on Balabolka recently released updates to improve Windows 8 readiness and German language support. Overall, it’s a good text-to-speech software, with just some scope for improvement. The installation process is simple and straightforward, and makes Balabolka an ideal choice for novices. To hear Balabolka’s TTS output, it’s essential to enable sound and speakers/headphones. If you’re unfamiliar with text-to-speech converters, you could check the audio output button. It appears on the Microsoft Speech Platform and SAPI5 tabs. A single-click on the button allows you to choose a specific audio output device.
Balabolka comes with several customization options, using which you can change the program’s skins, colors, and fonts. The Tools menu has a comprehensive set of options, such as Batch File Converter, File Splitter, Magnifier and more. If you’re not good with the language of the text, you can use a Panel of Dictionaries for quick reference. Balabolka also allows you to bookmark sections, and extract, convert,and save clips. If it seems overwhelming, the Help file lets you find answers to queries and issues.
A simple and clean user interface
The UI may seem a bit dull but it’s simple and clean. Users won’t face any trouble opening and playing a file. It doesn’t take much time to get a hang of toolbars, features and components. You can even vary the rate and pitch produced for amusing effects.With a simple online search, it’s easy to add several TTS voices to Balabolka. A lot of these are free! Without a doubt, this text to speech converter allows every user to create high-quality TTS sounds.
Additionally, it’s great that you can read the Clipboard text aloud, skip to a specific line or paragraph, and reset the pitch and rate. What’s more? It can easily identify pairs of names and rules in the text.
The software comes with a Clipboard monitoring tool, file comparison function, batch file converter, Google translator, subtitle converter, text extractor, and magnifier. With a few clicks, you can even enable a spellchecker, which shows a list of spelling errors and repeated words.
There’s still a lot more you can do. It’s possible to edit ID3 tags, use the search function, convert and split tracks to different audio formats (MP3, WMA, OGG and WAV), replace numbers with words, undo actions, insert audio clips and find homographs. Last but not least, the UI supports multiple languages, which makes things a lot easier.
Where can you run this program?
It can be installed on Microsoft Windows Vista/XP/7/8/10. Moreover, the platform is also available in a portable version, which doesn’t require installation. You can simply run it from a USB. Just remember that your computer will need at least one voice pre-installed.
Is there a better alternative?
Until a few years ago, text-to-speech software was quite expensive. With new technology, most of these tools are now available for free. While Balabolka is a great choice, you might want to look for other options too.
Here are 3 alternatives you might find interesting. Panopreter basic is a no-frills text-to-speech converter that is quite popular among users. As input, it accepts web pages, Microsoft Word documents, plain files, and rich text files. The resulting output is received in MP3 and WAV format. WordTalk is an add-on for Microsoft Word. Developed by the University of Edinburgh, it’s also available as a toolbar. It works with all editions of Microsoft Word. Zabaware text-to-speech reader offers a lot more than meets the eye though it looks basic. Users can conveniently copy and paste text in the program, or open numerous file formats directly. Overall, it’s a good choice.
With the kind of quality and flexibility that Balabolka offers, it’s on par with any paid program available in the market. Numerous features, clean UI, and accurate conversions make Balabolka quite popular among users. With support for multiple formats, such as MP3, MP4, OGG, WMA and WAV, Balabolka is definitely a viable option.
Should you download it?
Yes, without a thought! Balabolka doesn’t freeze or crash, and you get no pop-up error boxes. Moreover, since it uses low RAM and CPU, your system performance continues running smoothly. With its multiple features and configuration parameters, rest assured that it’s a multi-faceted and reliable text-to-speech software.
- Great file support format
- Bookmarking tools
- Several voices to choose from
- Only one default voice available
- Some languages need to be updated