Kurzweil 3000's most popular feature is its text to speech functions. Text to speech programs are exactly what they sound like: programs that convert written text to audible speech, so that users may listen to their documents and readings. This is useful for users with reading disabilities, schedules that disallow scheduled reading time, visual impairments, etc.
In the previous subsection, users learned how to use Kurzweil to turn an inaccessible PDF into an accessible PDF. In order to use Kurzweil text to speech, users need their files to already have been converted into Kurzweil files with readable OCR text. Luckily, any file imported into Kurzweil already undergoes a baseline level of OCR recognition. It is important to remember, if the text of a document is unreadable as OCR, users will not be able to have it read in text to speech.
Kurzweil text to speech can be used in two ways:
Live reading is the term this guide uses to describe simply sitting at a computer and having Kurzweil's text to speech software read a document to users. As mentioned before, live reading in Kurzweil requires the document you desire to be already converted into a Kurzweil file format with legible Optical Character Recognition (a layer of recognizable text underneath the image of text, such as in a PDF) or OCR. This is because Kurzweil needs to recognize the text of the document in order to then "read" it out loud. Like the other tutorials in this research guide, this box covers live reading in both the desktop and the browser applications.
The browser application has two main components that users need to live read documents:
Like in the browser application, either open a local file in Kurzweil, or open a file from your Universal Library/Google Drive. If necessary, wait for the file to be converted into a Kurzweil file with OCR.
Also similar to the browser application, there are two primary components to live reading in the Kurzweil desktop application:
Some users may have problems with documents where large amounts of text from out of the main body of the text is read aloud, disrupting the flow of the piece. This is often a problem with the "Text Zones" created when Kurzweil originally scans documents and converts them into Kurzweil files with OCR. Users should refer to the "Zone Editing" section of the Making PDFs Accessible page of this guide.
The second option for Kurzweil users who would like to listen to their documents through text to speech is converting entire documents into audio files. These audio files can then be listened to on any device that supports the following audio formats:
Unfortunately, audio file creation is only available through the desktop application version of Kurzweil 3000.
Once the document is scanned and converted, take a moment to review the document's text zones to make sure the converted audio file converts all relevant text efficiently.
Users are now ready to create an audio file from their selected document. to do so:
Note: it may take several minutes for Kurzweil to convert the document into an audio file.
Users can now import the created audio file into their desired listening device.