I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’ve had a busy week and I just haven’t been able to get my head into posting and writing. I’m very sorry. This is just a quick post to tell you about a new feature that I’ve just discovered whilst opening a PDF document.
I opened up my PDF reader (the usual suspect of course) and happened to decide to check out the options under the View menu. There’s a new feature! Oooh. (Thinking cute but strange green alien clones right about now). Or at least I think it’s a new feature, I’ve never seen or heard anything about it before. Have you? It’s called ‘Read Out Loud’.
Now, this sounds like a good idea, pro-disabilities amongst other things. You can now have your document read aloud to you without having to have specialist (aka expensive) software. I had to experiment. It took a while to think about it, maybe it had to install something, maybe it’s just the treacly state of my computer.
Right, if you’re thinking ‘read with mother’, I think I was, then you’re going to be disappointed. You have to click on a word for it to ‘read’ it. One word at a time. Or part word. It seems to not be able to join the letters up as confidently as a four-year-old might. It makes for some interesting sounds. Or it just settles for telling you what the odd letter is here or there. O-K. Oh, and to make it even more intellectually stimulating, it says ‘blank’ every time you click on a space. Just in case you didn’t realise that it wasn’t a word after all.
Disappointed? Yep, me too. You can’t even rely on it to reliably inform you how to pronounce unknown words.
Maybe I gave it a little bit of unfair road test. My document was in French. Which when ‘read’ aloud stiltedly in a heavy American accent sounds a little bit funny. The only two big words I could get it to ‘say’ were ‘travaillent’ (work, as in they work) it came up with tra-vail-ent and then there was ‘aujourd’hui’. I’m surprised it even attempted aujourd’hui. It’s a very big word with an apostrophe to throw the ‘voice’ completely off track.
It was worth trying just to hear a new version of ‘aujourd’hui’. Or-jurd-u-i. I kept clicking on the word. Small things.
I think I need to try this in English. Who knows what new words await.