If you’ve been following the flurry of blog posts and news recently, you’ll know that Adobe Captivate 4 was released last week. One of the great new features is a text to speech engine that lets you generate speech from your closed caption text.
I tested out this feature on my cell phone (a Samsung BlackJack II) by creating a small Captivate 4 demo and publishing it to my phone using the new Flash Lite Distributable Player. It worked. First time!
I wouldn’t recommend using Text to Speech this way as a habit, at least not for mobile devices, because what it does is embed an actual audio file, rather than converting the text on the fly. The sound and speech quality are both pretty good, and it sounds a lot less ‘roboty’ than your typical text to speech engine, but you may not find the relatively large file size acceptable. From my brief tests, it appears that since the audio starts off very clean (no background noise, plosives, sibilants, hiss or rumble) you can compress the audio files a little bit more aggressively than might be possible when compared to the audio recorded with a headset mike in a corner of the office.
So, if you need to add speech to your content, and you cannot afford the time and expense of recording quality audio from a skilled voiceover artist, then this new Text to Speech feature in Adobe Captivate 4 might be just what you need.