Here’s a quick look at a couple of Mac apps that do what you won’t find easily done in other Mac apps. Multiple voice narration. The first app is called, not surprisingly, Narrator, and what it does is remarkable for writers. It uses the built-in voices in OS X to read character lines in stories and plays.
Instead of assembling a number of actors to read parts, all you need to do is write the story or play with different characters, and Narrator uses the voices on your Mac to read each character’s assigned conversation part.
OS X comes with a number of built-in text-to-speech voices, both male and female, which these apps use. Simply assign the built-in voice to a character, adjust rate, inflection, volume, and pitch for each voice to create even more variety. The apps make it rather simple to flesh out a conversation between multiple characters within a scene.
Narrator uses the Mac’s built-in text-to-speech capability but also lets you export the audio– with all characters– as a file to iTunes so it can be shared or synchronized with iPhone or iPad. The recorded voice tracks can also be used in iMovie or as a screencast voice over.
Similarly priced but with even more features is GhostReader Plus, also available in the Mac App Store, and with a try-before-you-buy version.
Both apps let you import text from multiple sources and in different formats (text, Word, HTML, RTF, etc.) but GhostReader Plus also password protects preferences and restricts access to text formatting, and comes with a read only mode which can prevent accidental editing. Of the two, Narrator is easier to use, but GhostReader Plus has more features, including an option to automatically detect language in the text, and the ability to create a custom tag to define characters.