I recently stumbled across a new set of text-to-speech voices produced by CereProc in Edinburgh. They have a fantastic collection of realistic voices covering a range of accents in the UK including Scottish, West Midlands and Southern. They also have voices for the accents of other countries. For many years I have used ScanSoft UK English Daniel for my proofreading (he’s the voice of Siri that you may have heard on the latest Apple iPhone TV adverts). However although I’ve often recommended text-to-speech for proofreading (and other purposes) I myself found it difficult to hold my attention to the synthetic voices for more than a couple of paragraphs.
This is not the case with CereProc’s Scottish Heather voice. The intonation is very realistic and she pauses well when encountering punctuation, including a very good use of expression when reading something “within quotes”. I am now happily listening back to all my reports using Scottish Heather and Claroread Pro. Sarah’s southern English voice sounds pretty good.
CereProc’s voices can be tested, purchased and immediately downloaded for around £25 each.
If you attend or work at a school in Scotland then the Scottish Heather voice is free!