My friend Bas introduced me to Vikki, the computerized text-to-speach voice on my Mac. I had met her once before but thought, what good is she? I don’t need text-to-speech.
Vikki is becoming a very valuable companion helping me to write my book on TDD for Embedded C. Like many writers I have heard from, I find it very difficult to find problems with what I have just written. Jeff Langr suggested reading out-loud as part of the proof reading process. That helped a lot. But I often still read what was in my head rather than what was on the page.
With Vikki by my side, I can select a paragraph and have her read to me. She sounds a little like a Scandinavian that has had a few, but she actually reads what is there on the page. I even have discovered
I can edit out the problems as she is reading.
Thanks Bas. Thanks Jeff. Thanks Vikki.
Sounds very cool!
You may be interested in another proofreading technique that I learned many years ago as a copy boy at the newspaper. Read backwards. By starting at the end and reading forward, it seems that your mind doesn’t fill in what it expects to see. This makes the technique especially suited for catching typos and misspellings. There seems to be enough context, however, to also catch other things, such as using the wrong, though correctly spelled, word, and broken sentences. Perhaps these benefits are related to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” technique.
Tell me more about reading backwards. Do you mean read the last whole sentence backwards? My brain does not integrate the words into sentences reading end to beginning. I tried reading one word, then the last two, then the last three… that seemed to be revealing but I see an explosion in the number of words I’ll have to read. A ten word sentence means I’ll read 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 words. That’s going to add up!
I can see how it is good for typos and misspelling. I don’t see it would help with sentences.