How to create an audio version of any too-long-to-read article

If you find reading long articles and features challenging, why not convert them to audio so you can listen to the content at a time and pace that suits you? Whether you’re researching something for work or study, or you just want to read for pleasure, converting the text to audio and then to an MP3 file that you can listen to on your computer or a mobile device is a great option to have.

We’ve tried and tested a very simple-to-use, free online tool that can help you create an audio version of any too-long-to-read (we’ll let you be the judge of that!) article in a matter of minutes.

Here’s how it all works.

Free TTS: An easy-to-use, free text-to-speech service

Credit: Screengrab: Free tts

There are a plethora of text-to-voice services out there, but the option we’re highlighting is one that boasts a decent free service. Free TTS allows you to convert 6,000 characters a week into audio for free. Unlike other sites that offer a more basic free service, it also allows you to download the audio as an MP3 file.

Once you’ve copied the text you want converted, head to the site. Paste the copied text into the large text box you’ll find on the home page.

Credit: screengrab: free tts

Now select from one of the 30 supported languages using the drop-down menu below the text box. Select the voice you want to hear using the same method from the “Voices” drop-down menu.

Credit: screengrab: free tts

Next, simply click the blue “Convert to MP3” button. This will generate a playable audio file. Hit the play button to listen to it straight away.

Credit: screengrab: free tts

You can also choose to download the audio as an MP3 file by clicking “Download MP3” and then clicking “Download” in the new tab that’s generated.

Credit: screengrab: free tts

The download option will appear if you click the three dots menu icon on the right of the audio file’s box. Once you click this, the MP3 file will go into whatever your default download folder is.

Using Speech Synthesis Markup Language

Another reason we’re recommending Free TTS is that the site supports Speech Synthesis Markup Language.

SSML is a XML-based markup language that helps with customization in your audio, “telling” the site how to read the text by providing details on pauses and audio formatting for acronyms, dates, times, abbreviations, and so forth.

You don’t need to use SSML if you’re happy with the site creating a basic audio readout of your text, but if you do want to make a more polished file, the kinds of SSML code you can use is listed toward the bottom of the home page on the site.

Credit: screengrab: free tts

It’s not too daunting if you want to experiment. For example, if you want the audio file to include a pause at a specific place, you’d need to enter there.

Paying for more characters

If you want to convert more than 6,000 characters in a week, Free TTS does offer paid plans.

If you pay $6 as a no-subscription, one-time payment, you can get 1,000,000 characters for 24 hours. Paying $19 gets you 2,000,000 characters over a month period. The pro-level option is $99, which gets you 10,000,000 characters for a year. Choose the one that works for you, and start listening.

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