First app on the way !

Speak4Me, will be submitted to the app store soon.

This is not the first app that I wrote, but it will be the first one that I will share with the world, and it will be free; no limitation, no ads, no in-app purchases, just free stuff.

As a teacher, I realise how difficult it is for students to pick up a correct accent when they speak. And I too leant that first-hand when I tried to improve my Russian accent. The main problem here is that when you want to memorise something in French for instance and you read it, you read it as an English speaker would do, applying the pronunciation rules of one language to another. And it simply does not work. What Speak4Me does is to read the text aloud to you, with the correct pronunciation rules, I did not come up with this idea; Google has been doing it for years ... badly. See, if you ask to read a foreign language for you, it will do it in batches of 100 characters, which means that you cannot control the flow. It pauses at the wrong times, and will ignore paragraphs, which is not a true reflection of reality.

iOS comes bundled with a beautiful Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine which is easy to put in place, does not need a network connection to work, so it looked like a better choice than using google. There is one drawback in that you cannot record the outputted text to a .mp4 file, that could be used outside the application. I am however investigating a workaround for a future version, because I think that this is an important feature to have.

The current features are:

  • it supports all the languages supported by the iOS TTS Engine, as well as Right To Left scripts (like English) and Left To Righ scripts (like Arabic). Basically, if you can paste some text into Speak4Me, it will read it.
  • it saves your texts for later retrieval.
  • you can pause, resume and stop the reading at any time
  • the mute option will just highlight the text at the correct reading pace so that you can practice reading aloud.
  • you can change the pitch, speed, volume and voice for the TTS Engine, and make it read text from a language using the pronunciation rules of another language. Very funny but very insightful too. Future version may include the ability to record yourself reading, and possibly the exporting of the read text to .mp4
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