There is something a bit disquieting about a Mac that talks. Talking to Siri on an iPhone is one thing, but having your computer talk to you while at home or stuck in a cubicle in the office is something different.
Siri hasn’t made it to the Mac yet, but the spirit of Siri lives in Read4Me, a handy Mac app that can read aloud whatever text you give it, then record the audio to be played back on iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Read4Me can open a number of Mac text documents, including Microsoft Word, Open Office docs, Rich Text Format documents, and then read every word in the voice of your choice.
Not only can Read4Me read your text using one of Apple’s built-in voices, you can add even more voices, add pauses, change pitch, adjust the speed and do all that in one of a few dozen different languages.
Arabic, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and Turkish
Read4Me is simple to setup and use. Simply open a text file, then use the onscreen controls to play, fastforward, and change or adjust the voice.
Only Mac OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion have the international voices. There are also different English dialects such as British English, Irish, and Scottish. Those dialects will need to be downloaded from Apple, but they’re free.
Read4Me can become the audio voice that reads the news, reads poetry or an article, or any text document. You can even change the number of words read per minute, and easily select a different voice.
Read4Me makes a good tool for reading characters in a play or story for children. Even better, Read4Me can save the speech as an audio file which can be played back on Macs or PCs, iPhone or iPad (even embedded as an audio link in a website).
Unfortunately, Read4Me isn’t a substitute for a Mac-like version of iPhone’s popular Siri. But it is another way the Mac gets more personable.