Kindle Text-to-Speech is SCARY

Posted on

I finally plucked up the courage to turn on Text-to-Speech on my kindle. (Press the Aa button and select from the pop-up menu). What I got was a male robot voice taking exaggerated pauses at each comma, but no pauses for emdashes or between speech and attribution, between pieces of unattributed speech, or even between chapters! Here’s the first page of my book

ST PATRICK’S DAY SPECIAL

  PART ONE

ONE

 

March 17, 2004

Green and yellow bunting strung between the lampposts marked out the route of the upcoming parade, as Detective Inspector Jordan headed across Dublin. It was 5 am. The streets of the city were deserted, the sky overcast and dark. Seven hours from now, tens of thousands of people of all ages would pack the streets behind crowd control barriers, clamouring for the best vantage points.

The traffic lights brought him to a halt on Leeson Street Bridge. His gun was cutting into his ribcage. He tried loosening the holster strap and repositioning the seatbelt; no improvement. He removed the gun and placed it on the passenger seat beside him.

Jordan turned west along the canal, a rose-coloured hint of dawn in his rear-view mirror. A playful breeze rippling through the reeds of the canal might have been the ghost of the saint on the lookout for fugitive snakes.

He hit the motorway heading south and increased the juice. As the powerful car surged forward, Superintendent Allen’s pasty face invaded his thoughts. The Super was a hard taskmaster, and it was sometimes difficult to understand his decisions, but getting Gannon to testify against Lafferty was Allen’s idea, and Gannon’s testimony was going to finish Lafferty, no question about it.

Memories of St Patrick’s Days long past seeped into his consciousness, and he picked through them like old gobstoppers rediscovered in the lining of a coat. Lucy in her Brownies uniform or dressed as a fairy, a butterfly, a cucumber!

Within sight of Kilkenny, he lifted his phone and dialled Sergeant Silver.

“Cavalry’s on its way, Isaac.”

“Where are you?”

“Just coming into the town. How’s our star witness?”

“Sleeping like a baby, thank God.” Silver yawned. “He’s an irritating little shit when he’s awake. Bent my ear most of the night about how he’s testifying against Lafferty out of the goodness of his heart.”

“Sounds like you should be asleep yourself.”

“Tell me about it. These twelve-hour shifts are killing me.”

“Put the kettle on,” Jordan said. “I’ll be with you in five.”

Silver said, “Hold on a minute, Ben, there’s someone at the door.”

Jordan shouted into the phone, “Isaac! Don’t open it!”

There was no answer.

 **

Here’s what it sounds like using Text-to-Speech:

Saint Patrick’s Day Special Part One One March seventeen.

Two thousand four green and yellow bunting strung between the lampposts marked out the route of the upcoming parade.

As Detective Inspector Jordan headed across Dublin.

It was 5 am.

The streets of the city were deserted.

The sky overcast and dark.

Seven hours from now.

Tens of thousands of people of allages would pack the streets behind crowd

Control barriers.

Clamouring for the best vantage points.

The traffic lights brought him to a halt on Leeson Street Bridge.

His gun was cutting into his ribcage.

He tried loosening the holster strap and repositioning the seatbelt.

No improvement.

He removed the gun and placed it on the passenger seat beside him.

Jordan turned west along the canal.

A rose-coloured hint of dawn in his rear-view mirror.

A playful breeze rippling through the reeds of the canal might have been the ghost of the saint on the lookout for fugitive snakes.

He hit the motorway heading south and increased the juice.

As the powerful car surged forward.

Superintendent Allen’s pasty face invaded his thoughts.

The Super was a hard task master

And it was sometimes difficult to understand his decisions.

But getting Gannon to testify against Lafferty was Allen’s idea.

And Gannon’s testimony was going to finish Lafferty.

No question about it.

Memories of St Patrick’s Days longpast seeped in to his consciousness.

And he picked through them like old gobstoppers rediscovered in the lining of a coat.

Lucy in her Brownies uniform or dressed as a fairy.

A butterfly.

A cucumber.

Within sight of Kilkenny,

he lifted his phone and dialled Sergeant Silver.

Cavalry’s on its way.

Isaac where are you? Just coming into the town.

How’s our star witness? Sleeping like a baby.

Thank God.

Silver yawned.

He’s an irritating little shit when

he’s awake.

Bent my ear most of the night about how he’s testifying against Lafferty out of the goodness of his heart.

Sounds like you should be asleep yourself.

Tell me about it.

These twelve-hour shifts are killing me.

Put the kettle on.

Jordan said.

I’ll be with you in five.

Silver said.

Hold on a minute.

Ben.

There’s someone at the door.

Jordan shouted into the phone.

Isaac.

Don’t open it there was no answer.

I tried a female voice, but that was not much better. There are three speeds: Slower, Default and Faster. Slower makes the voice sound as if he/she is talking to an idiot. Faster is too fast to understand, and makes the whole thing sound like the keystone kops.

The facility would be useful for picking up on missing/extra words, and it would make you think twice about each comma, but don’t try it after dark. It’s seriously scary!

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe here to receive more.

1325 Total Views 2 Views Today
On Voice and Point of View
Another Massive Writing Scam
Posted in eBooks, Uncategorized, Writing for Kindle and tagged , , .