Top 10 free text to speech readers in 2021

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Looking for the best free apps to turn written text into speech? There are quite a few out there, but we present the top 10 here.

Text to speech readers offers many advantages for a wide range of people, including those with reading issues, workers who want to multi-task, and people who simply want to relax and listen. It can also help writers who want to proofread their work.

TTS or Text To Speech software uses different speech-synthesis technologies to transform written digital text into audible speech. Many platforms will also let you choose a voice, voice quality, gender, reading speed, accent, and even language.

This review focuses on the entirely free TTS readers or those you can use for free. Some may lack the features of premium packages, but they are all helpful.

Following is a look at the top 10 free text-to-speech readers and what they each have to offer you.

Fee text to speech readers

NameBest ForLanguagesWebsite
Natural ReadersWeb & desktopEnglish (free)naturalreaders.com
Google Text to SpeechAndroid users40+play.google.com/store/apps
BalabolkaWindows users20+cross-plus-a.com/balabolka.htm
Google Cloud Speech to TextDevelopers47cloud.google.com/speech-to-text
ZabawareWindows usersEnglishzabaware.com/reader
Panopreter BasicWindows, toolbarsManypanopreter.com
Voice Aloud ReaderAndroid usersAutomaticplay.google.com/store/apps
Speech CentraliOS users8+apps.apple.com
WordTalkMS WordEnglishwordtalk.org.uk
From Text to SpeechWeb based8fromtexttospeech.com

1. Natural Readers

Natural Readers is a text-to-speech synthesis package that is available for both desktop use and as a web platform.

It is available in two versions: There is the free version, which includes a free voice, and paid versions, which range from Personal for $99 with 2 natural voices, up to Ultimate for $199, with 6 natural voices.

You can use the free online version on the website. It lets you input text or upload documents from .pdf to .odt, epub, and even .jpeg formats. It also lets you listen to the speeches online, but you can only download the generated mp3 using a paid account.

Although you can use it without an account, extra features are available when you register for a free account. They include a pronunciation editor, the ability to save your files and to continue reading from where you left off the last time.

Natural Readers also offers a commercial version for YouTube content creators, e-learning tutors, and other public uses. Its only downside is that the free version can only read English.

Highlights: Versatile, simple interface, web platform

Languages: English (Free), others in premium

Website: naturalreaders.com

2. Google Text to Speech

With over 5 billion installs and 2.6 million reviews with a 4.3-star rating, Google’s text to speech software for Android is undoubtedly a must-have.

It comes pre-installed on most Android devices, but you will have to activate it on some. Simply go to Settings → Language & Input → Text-to-speech output to activate it.

The software works with a wide range of programs that you can download from the play store. It also supports 40+ languages, including Bangla, Czech, Japanese, Ukrainian, and many flavors of English.

You can use it to read books from the Google Play Books app, on Google Translate to speak out whatever it has translated for you, and many other applications.

You can visit its play store page to either install or update your device’s version. As Google constantly releases updates for the package.

Highlights: Native Android app, extensive integration, many languages

Languages: Over 40

Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.tts&hl=en&gl=US

3. Balabolka

Balabolka is a Russian word, which loosely translates to ‘chatterer’. And as you can imagine, it was developed by Russian programmers, who licensed it for free.

The software works on the windows platform and is available as a standard app, a command-line app, and a portable version that you can run from a thumb drive.

Balabolka translates over 20 languages, including English, Russian, Chinese, Punjabi, Esperanto, Portuguese, and so on.

It also supports over 25 text formats, including .mobi, .ppt, .rtf, .pdf, .doc, .epub, and so on. You can further customize it to use the Microsoft speech platform for up to 26 languages. As well as free spell checking using OpenOffice’s Hunspell.

If you know what you are doing and want a free text-to-speech reader that you can seriously tweak, then check out Balabolka. You can also use high-quality commercial voices with it if you like.

Highlights: 25+ text formats, flexible packaging

Languages: 20+

Website: cross-plus-a.com/balabolka.htm

4. Google Cloud Text to Speech

The Google Cloud platform is for developers and includes everything from web hosting to databases, artificial intelligence, text to speech engines, and a host of others.

You should note that this offer is not for the average user. But if you are developing an application that could benefit from text-to-speech capabilities, then it is worth a look.

This engine includes 47 languages and variants, plus over 220 voices to choose from. Then there is the ability to train the engine with a custom voice, 90+ AI-generated voices, precise pitch tuning, speaking rate adjustments, and up to 16 dB volume increases.

You are also free to convert the text to MP3, OGG OPUS, AMR, FLAC, and many more audio formats. Google Cloud TTS is perfect for voice-bots, voice generation in devices, electronic program guides, and similar applications.

It is free to use for up to 4 million characters each month for the standard voices, and up to 1 million for WaveNet voices. After that, you only pay $4 for each 1 million characters. Google Cloud also offers Speech-to-Text transcriptions.

Highlights: AI-powered, free tier, enterprise-grade features

Languages: 47 languages and variants

Website: https://cloud.google.com/speech-to-text

5. Zabaware

Zabaware is an AI developer and the creator of the entertainment chat-bot, Ultra Hal. It also offers the free Zabaware text to speech reader.

This TTS software is a Windows application that you can use to read emails, documents, web pages, and even clipboard contents. It offers speed reading, audio export to mp3 players, and is easy to use.

Zabaware is also highly customizable, You can set it to automatically read text from dialog boxes, export .wav audio files of a document directly, or change its speed and volume at any time.

Highlights: Windows integrations, customizable

Languages: English

Website: https://www.zabaware.com/reader/

6. Panopreter Basic

With the Panopreter Basic application, you can input text or read a file to speak. It offers sliding controls for volume and speed. And it supports different languages and voices, using Microsoft’s pre-installed default speech voices.

Panopreter Basic will also convert your text files to .wav or mp3 audio files and it supports batch file processing.

For more features, however, you can opt for the Panopreter Standard software. This package includes the stand-alone text-to-speech application, plus toolbars for Microsoft Word and the Internet Explorer programs.

You also get sample-rate and bit-rate adjustments, pitch control, repetitions, and free upgrades, when a new version becomes available.

Highlights: Windows-based, Word & IE toolbars

Languages: English & other languages

Website: panopreter.com

7. Voice Aloud

If you are looking for a text-to-speech reader that will additionally adapt to your smartphone and lifestyle, then check out Voice Aloud.

With over 5 million Android installs, plus a 4.3-star rating from over 100,000 reviews, this is one app you can be sure of.

It offers email, websites, and news reading. Then, it can handle a wide range of document formats from .txt to .pdf, .docx, .mobi, .epub, and so on. There is also an optical character recognition (OCR) feature to automatically recognize texts.

Other features include automatic language recognition, Japanese and Chinese character handling, sleep timer, pausing between paragraphs, and headset button controls. These and many more settings help to personalize it into your favorite reader.

Highlights: For Android users, many extra features

Languages: Automatic selection

Website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hyperionics.avar&hl

8. Speech Central

Available for iOS and Android users, Speech Central is another text-to-speech reader that makes it easy to digest web contents, ebooks, pdf, RSS feeds, and so on.

It has a 4.6-star rating on the App Store from 475 reviews and comes with a ton of features.

These include impressive voices on the free tier, a wide range of document formats support, article syncing, multi-language support, and audio file exports.

You should note, however, that you cannot use it to read DRM-protected books. There is also a daily limit for how many articles you can read with the free version. But, you can always go premium to read more.

Highlights: Many features, iOS compatible, multi-format support

Languages: 8+

Website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speech-central-voice-reader/id1127349155

9. WordTalk

WordTalk is a plugin for the Microsoft Word package. It integrates into Word as a toolbar, features simple navigation, and lets you read entire paragraphs or documents.

It also features word highlighting as it reads through the text, with options to select highlight colors. Talking dictionary, voice changes, voice speed changes, and exports to .wav or mp3 formats are also available.

WordTalk has been downloaded over 170,000 times and is developed solely for the Microsoft Windows environment. This means that it does not work on macOS or Android devices. However, it is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries.

Highlights: MS Word integration, easy-to-use toolbar

Languages: English

Website: wordtalk.org.uk

10. From Text to Speech

From Text to Speech is a free online text reader, designed to convert up to 50,000 characters into audio.

The website features a very simple design and is perfect for those who don’t care about designs and eye candy. But just want to get the job done.

You can use it for US and British English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Russian languages. It features 5 voices for US English, 2 voices for British, and mostly one or two for the other languages.

Speed selection is also available and ranges from Slow to Medium, Fast, and Very Fast. That’s all there is to this simple but efficient online text-to-speech reader.

Highlights: Simple design, web-based, easy to use

Languages: 8

Website: fromtexttospeech.com

Conclusion

We have reached the end of this top 10 free text to speech readers list. And as you have seen, there is something for everyone here. From smartphone apps to programmable readers and those with

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Nnamdi Okeke

Nnamdi Okeke is a computer enthusiast who loves to read a wide range of books. He has a preference for Linux over Windows/Mac and has been using Ubuntu since its early days. You can catch him on twitter via bongotrax

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