Converting Alternate Text to MP3 Format
Students can convert their own alternate text for use in their MP3 player following the instructions listed below:
There are several screen reader programs available online that also offer MP3 conversion. For example, Text Aloud is a free download that uses the standard Microsoft Sam voice to convert files to MP3 format directly from Word documents and PDFs. Verbose is another free download, but offers additional synthesized voices to convert Word documents to WAV files. Free companion software allows users to convert from WAV to MP3 format. With Verbose, you will need to copy and paste text from PDFs into the screen reader or convert to Word format before converting to MP3 format. Natural Reader offers screen reading using the standard Microsoft Sam voice with the free download of the program. By upgrading to the paid version, users have the additional option of converting text to MP3 format using two natural voices. Students will need to choose the program that suits their needs best.
When converting text to MP3 format, it is best to divide the text and save each chapter as a separate MP3 file. If the chapters are saved as separate documents, use the screen reader to open the document. If the text is not already divided by chapter, copy and paste each chapter separately into the screen reader. The chapter will appear on screen without any pictures or images. Edit the page, making sure any irregularities are fixed, eliminating any text that you would not want read (i.e. footnotes, etc.). You may also want to make a two line space between paragraphs so the MP3 will make a space of time between thoughts.
Select the desired reading speed in your screen reader, between 185 (normal speaking rate) and 215 (a bit faster). Some screen readers set the default speed at “0”, with “-1” being slightly slower and “1” being slightly faster. Assign each chapter a title that will allow you to find the file in your player. This adjustment must be done with each new chapter.
If using Text Aloud, select the “Speak to File” button and choose a destination folder that you will be able to find later. Click “Save Speech” in Verbose, or “MP3” in Natural Reader. If using another screen reader, follow the directions for the screen reader to make the conversion. While the directions may vary between programs, they will be relatively the same.
Directions for MAC users are included in the link at the left of the page.