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GhostReader (was TextParrot) is a multilingual text-to-speech solution for Mac OS X that allows you to listen to your documents with naturally sounding voices in a language of choice. Voices are currently available for the following languages: American English, British English, Czech, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, American Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Norwegian, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Russian and Swedish. GhostReader itself is localized in English, French, Italian and German. Use it:

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What's New

Version 1.6.7b2:
  • Added support for OS X 10.7.

Requirements

OS X 10.7 or later

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GhostReader User Discussion

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Espiridion Member IconReview+1147
Espiridion
+1

I bought my copy in 2008, and have received multiple updates for free. I compared it with Narrator and OS X's included text-to-speech, and immediately noticed GhostReader's superiority.

I liked Narrator's ability to automatically combine different voices, but the sound quality was inferior. You can buy additional voices:
http://www.marinersoftware.com/products/narrator/voiceservices/

I have not customized any GhostReader voices in terms of speed, volume, or pronunciation, but these features are available.

My complaints would be that the included voices are too few. For instance, only 5 US English voices and of those only one is an adult male. Not all sound great, and additional languages are $25

Some examples:
http://www.convenienceware.com/ghostreader/videos.php
http://www.convenienceware.com/voices.php

I typed some of Alex's speech found here:
http://images.apple.com/accessibility/voiceover/media/Alex_normal.m4a

Using Ryan's voice is a vast improvement, at least to my ears. It took me about 2 minutes to type the text and have Ryan read it.
Due to an earlier comment I also tried this text:
"Blowing in the wind I need to wind my clock."
The pronunciation of the word "wind" was correct -and different- in each instance. Try the same sentence with Alex ;)

Reply0 replies
Version 1.6.6
Mk-Ultra Member IconReview+7
Mk-Ultra
+2

A slight improvement over text-to-speech. But not really worth it.

I had to spent nearly an hour editing a page (butchering the english language), so that it could speak and sound something resembling the english language.

Reply1 reply
Version 1.6.5
Mk-Ultra
+0

2Hrs later Addendum...
I've given up completely on this app. It does whatever it wants. There's absolutely no control over diction and intonation other than throwing excessive punctuation and pauses where it shouldn't have them. And even then you have to deal with the wacky syllable stress and pronunciation of certain words.
The british voices seem a bit better at pronouncing words. But the american voices (which I would have preferred to use) are nearly unusable.
I wouldn't pay a dime for this software

Bugsman (I zap germs) Member IconReview+51
Bugsman (I zap germs)
+3

I really do not understand why this gets good reviews.

This has been my second attempt to test drive the software.

I will admit that voice quality is good (in so-called British English; it's OUR English, why not call it Real English?) but the pronunciation of even simple words is awful.

Example: "wind" as in breeze, comes out as "wined" Attempting to change this via the available editor is a nightmare.

It is my suspicion that the great reviews are either planted, or placed by non-English speakers

Reply3 replies
Version 1.6.5
Rdrl85
+1

First of all, in case the comments were not written by native English speakers, they are still useful.
Yours, instead, is absolutely out of the line. True, the word "wind" is not pronounced correctly. However, the whole sentence "The wind is blowing." is pronounced as is it supposed to be.

I can say as I am using this application within the bundle supported by Infovox iVox, it is great opportunity to learn pronunciation quickly, to correct your spelling and grammar while your are listening and to switch narrators easily.

Cheers

Meshsci
+0

Yes, although I find it useful overall, it does have some nagging problems. (I actually arrived at your comment while looking for a better alternative to 'Ghostreader', and I've marked your comment as useful.)

Trying to correct the mispronunciations is ... well, I've never been able to perform such corrections.

There are other problems: When I set GhostReader to create .mp3 files from text files, it sometimes creates some in .mp3 format and others in both .mp3 and .aiff. I can always delete unwanted .aiff files, but it's time wasting and frustrating to run the action again, hoping that this time--with luck--GhostReader will throw up the needed .mp3 files. Ghostreader also seems to save the audio files to random locations, without any obvious way, or offer from the software, to store text file generated audio files in location of the user's own choosing.

Rdrl85
+0

If you have problems with the supported audio files, try some other application for conversion. I suggest: NARRATOR.

I must admit that I have not even tried to use the build-in audio conversion due to the fact that GhostReader does not simply support multiple Readers within the same text. Therefore, if I liked to hear a title spoken be a different voice and the whole text by my standard voice I would convert each voice (and text) separately.

One thing is bothering my, however, that files in format .pdf are themselves converted odd and the pronunciation is just wrong. (Try it yourself: type some lines into word, check your pronunciation, convert it into PDF and check again. Often, some words do not seem pronounced correctly.)

k0gg Member IconReview+0
k0gg
+0

I'm totally delighted that I bought GhostReader. It reads superbly well with Leopard's Alex voice. It's great for reading webpages when I'm tired of reading them myself. I've set it to read the text under my cursor when I press the Control key.

GhostReader is extremely useful for proof-reading emails and forum text entries before I post them. It picks up correctly spelled words that are the wrong word in context--like 'no' instead of 'on' which I easily overlook.

Reply0 replies
Version 1.1.1
Robin-O-Hood Member IconComment+2
Robin-O-Hood
+1

Does Leopard have Improved Text-Speaking? YES it does!

Here's a *Sample Leopard Recording* (from daringfireball.net) to compare with:
http://daringfireball.net/misc/2007/10/Alex-Text-to-Speech-Example.mp3

* Source Page:
http://daringfireball.net/linked/2007/october

Reply1 reply
Version 1.1.1
Mactheweb
+0

Yes, Leopard and Snow Leopard have a couple of better quality voices than previous Mac OSs. The ConvenienceWare voices in GhostReader are of much higher quality even higher quality than the Cepestral voices you can add on to the system.

Tom Marvolo Riddle Member IconReview+6
Tom Marvolo Riddle
+0

There's one word that describes this app: WOW!!!!

Reply0 replies
Version 1.1.1
ok14me21 Member IconReview+15
ok14me21
+0

This is just a "Must Have" program !!!!
I love to give it 10 stars out of 5 - if I could !

I have been waiting for more than 10 years to find it !

I love my Mac !
But as a Swedish citizen I am displeased that my computer can not
speak text in my own language ;-(

People from America and England do not have this problem with there Mac's - but the rest of the world do suffer from this problem !!!!

GhostReader is the ultimate solution !!!!!
For those who love to hear text been spoken in their own language with high quality voices - for example Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Flemish and moreŠ..

You must download the voices for your country to use GhostReader !
I just love to hear my favorite author been spoken with a synthetic voice ;-)

And to all of you out there - follow these simple rules:

Download Application and your Voices.
Read the info !!!!
Test GhostReader.
.....And You Will Be Sold !!!!!!

Reply0 replies
Version 1.1
Patoche Member IconReview+70
Patoche
+0

Very good soft, I like it a lot.
The french voices are sympathiques and stress on the punctuation is correctly made usually.
One problem with the purchase on the US store it is listed à 39 us dollars and on the wwide store at 49.-- for a dowloaded product, why ?
I will not buy it for this reason, for the moment.
Of course I live in europe...

Reply2 replies
Version 1.0.1
DavidN
+0

The price in euros is 39, not 49. In the world wide store prices are based on Euros, in the North American store on USD. The product cost $39 or 39 euro. Due to exchange rate fluctuations prices in other than the stores default currency may vary.

The reason for the two stores is that TextParrot includes voices which we license from another company and we are not allowed to sell those for the dollar price outside of North America.

avetenebrae
+0

but $39 is more 29€ than 39… ;)

Phaleron Member IconComment+97
Phaleron
+0

This is not a fair evaluation with it being the first version, but here we go:

The voices are certainly better than Apple's, but the accent is often placed on the wrong syllable (although the word is spelled correctly) and sometimes it is mispronounced. For instance "spellchecking' is pronounced "spellkecking." Incidentally, I could not find spellchecking. Neither could I drag text selections around.

I also found it to be a problem that when text is read on another application (e.g. Safari) and a text box opens with the selected text that is read-out, the user cannot then go to another window, or else the box closes and the reading stops. As a result one has to refrain from all work while the text is being read.

On the positive side, I really like the voices. The places where TextParrot runs smooth, it is a joy to listen. Playing the fast-forward is surprisingly comprehensible (maybe even preferable). Much, much work has to be done to get this program to be smooth, but in my opinion they are already ahead of the competition. Good luck!

Reply1 reply
Version 1.0
macolyte
+0

Check out SpiritedAway, which does auto app switching, but also lets you designate apps to keep active when in the background. Should solve the 'have to stay in the app' problem

niamor Member IconReview+4
niamor
+0

It's quite difficult to find a good voice synth for french language. Maybe impossible... And these are not so bad. The 4 french voices sound almost natural, but there are a lot of bugs with the timing, punctuation, abbreviation... Then, it becomes quickly unbearable !

However, it should be usefull with a applescript support... but none at this time..

Reply0 replies
Version 1.0
user icon+24
Kantorde
Version 1.6.7b2
> 4 9

Ratings

Overall
(9)
Current Version (1.x)
(9)

Details

Downloads 8,600
Version Downloads 1,548
Type Utilities / System
License Demo
Date 25 Jul 2011
Platform OS X / Intel 32
Price $39.95
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