Text-to-Speech – A Helpful Assistant for Every Writer


By Cathy Milton.

During Canada Career Month in November 2017, CPC Masterminds Maureen McCann and Kamee Gilmore hosted a panel of eight top Canadian résumé strategists. The result was a very popular “Résumé Expert Q&A” podcast.

One of the experts contributing to the podcast was Kristin Vandegriend. Kristin had conducted a survey of 60 hiring managers and HR professionals, so she had a lot of information “from the other side of the interview table” to share with résumé writers.

During her podcast interview, Kristin was asked what hiring officials named as their résumé pet peeve. The answer will probably not surprise you…grammar and spelling errors were #1 on the list.

When asked to elaborate on that pet peeve, Kristin’s respondents stated that they view a candidate’s résumé as the first indication of the person’s communications skills, and, essentially, their “first assignment” for the company. The job seeker demonstrates a lot to a potential employer by having put the effort into ensuring that spelling and grammar are impeccable.

In order to help résumé writers double-check their work, Kristin recommends the use of text-to-speech applications.

What is a text-to-speech application?

As the name implies, a text-to-speech (TTS) application takes written text and converts it to an audio file. You simply upload your written text to the application, turn up your computer’s sound, activate the “read” function with the touch of a button, then sit back and enjoy listening to your work being read back to you.

How is text-to-speech useful for a writer?

You’ve double and triple-checked the résumé you’ve worked on for three days. You’re sure it’s perfect, but why not make absolutely certain by having a text-to-speech application proofread it for you again?

When you upload that perfect résumé to a TTS app and play it back, you can listen for a few things:

  • Sentences that are grammatically incorrect.
  • Spelling errors (the TTS app will read them, but the words will sound “weird”).
  • The way the thoughts in the document flow. Are there statements that seem weak or out of place?

What are some of the features of TTS?

TTS apps allow you to select male or female readers, specific accents, and various languages. The voices and reading capabilities, in most cases, sound surprisingly natural.

When you start to investigate TTS applications, be sure to read the “fine print” as some are compatible with Windows only, some with Mac, and others with both operating systems.

Sometimes the applications are browser-specific (for example, they may work on Internet Explorer, but not on Chrome).

Many of these apps work on a variety of devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.).

What is the cost?

There are many free text-to-speech applications available for use online. Others are available via a variety of subscription plans, or for a one-time purchase price. Many also offer “add-ons,” such as additional voices and languages, for a price.

What are some of the popular TTS applications?

This list represents just a few of the many TTS applications that are available. Type “most popular text to speech applications” into Google, and you’ll see what I mean.

An added benefit

Aside from being a helpful assistant in your quest for error-free résumé writing, a text-to-speech application can also be pleasant to use in your leisure time.

Since Kristin first talked about TTS applications, I’ve used Natural Reader to enjoy listening to long newspaper or magazine articles while I cook dinner. I just copy-and-paste the text into a Word document, then upload the document to the app.

There are some funny quirks that pop up during the read-back. For example, the very nice woman reading the text is extremely diligent and thorough…when she comes to a bullet point in the story, she will say “small bullet” before she reads the text following the bullet.

There are other minor and humorous glitches, but overall, I find that having a “personal reader” via a text-to-speech application is an efficient and relaxing way to catch up on interesting articles.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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A timely article, I have used Natural Reader to review a cover letter and it found one small error. It proved to be a useful tool.

I have been using Natural Reader for years back in my freelance writing days to help me proofread my work. I also run my work through https://prowritingaid.com. This utility is excellent and provides a wealth of useful information including how many times a specific word was used in the documents – excellent for reducing redundancy.