Siri, Read to Me, Mavericks Edition
When it comes to off-the-shelf text-to-speech solutions, the Macintosh is pretty darned good. Although that functionality hasn’t changed in OS X Mavericks, Apple is offering new English language, both US and overseas accent, voices available for download.
So, how do they sound? Here’s a quick comparison of Samantha (aka Siri) of Ava (a new voice available for Mavericks) reading Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick in iBooks, which is also new in Mavericks.
Siri (Samantha) Reads Moby Dick
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
Excerpt From: Herman Melville. Moby Dick (free)
Ava Reads Moby Dick
To my ear, at least, Ava sounds more natural. However, she’s just one of the new voices available for download in OS X Mavericks.
Moreover, there are also many overseas accent English voices, some of which are quite good (i.e. British English Kate).
So, could you listen to Ava, Samantha, Kate or another of these (new) voices read you a book for hours? Or, how about 15 minutes of news articles during your morning commute?