Saturday, August 6, 2022

Balabolka settings

Writing.

Balabolka is a simple TTS (Text To Speech) tool that can help authors with proofreading and editing their work. Word has such a feature build in, but if you use Google Docs or another editor / word processor you might want to use something like Balabolka.

I have set up Balabolka in such a way that it monitors my clipboard. When I do a larger copy / paste it will start reading my text.


Why use a TTS tool at all?

It will help you spot errors that you otherwise wouldn't spot because it forces you to pay attention. Yeah, it's hard to explain. Just try it.


Download

This is a Russian program. If that bothers you then don't download it.

http://www.cross-plus-a.com/btext.htm


Configuration


1. Language

Weergave / Taal / Engels

OR

View / Language / English


2. Options / Settings

Options / Settings / General

- Show Balabolka in folder context menus - Off

- Prevent Multiple Instances - On


Options / Settings / Reading

- Keep track on spoken text - On

- Center selected text

- Select spoken text

- Highlight spoken text


Options / Settings / Text

- Remove excess spaces - On

- Remove hyphens at the ends of lines in the text - On

- Remove line breaks inside paragraphs - On


Options / Settings / Skip Text

- Ignore URLs - On


Options / Settings / Hotkeys

1. Use Global Hotkeys - On

2. Clear All

3. Only set Pause

4. Use Ctl+Shft+A as shortcut


Options / Settings / Voice

- Sapi 5 / Microsoft Zira Desktop

(The other voices are horrible.)


Options / Settings / Clipboard

- Clipboard Watch - On

- Minimal number of characters - 500

- Action -  Replace text in the current document and read aloud


3. Dictionary

The following change will treat / pronounce a double dash (the author's equivalent of an Em-Dash) as [comma]+[space], ie. a short pause.


1. View / Show / Panel of Dictionaries [F11]

2. RMB on panel / New / BXD <profile name>

3. Open dictionary (double click)

4. Add

- Read This - Plain text - -- (that's a  double dash)

- Like This - Text - ,[space] (that's a comma followed by a space)

- No Word Boundary Required

- Change and save

5. Switch on the dictionary (tick the box)


4. Restart

After all the above restart Balabolka.


Audio quality

Yeah, it ain't great, but the Zira voice is the least annoying. It should be possible to bind it to, for example, Amazon's Polly, but I haven't managed to get that to work.

Still, I advise any wannabe author to use a TTS tool like this, because it will seriously help you to increase the quality of your writing and editing!


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