Audiobooks: What Biblos has more to transform books into audioGiuseppe Di Grande Published the 11/02/2021 08:00
Biblos also transforms books into audiobooks offering interesting conversion options that make it almost unique. The Software can create in the same way both MP3 audiobooks and audiobooks in DAISY technology, a special audiobook containing synchronized text and audio. Those who use Biblos to convert books to audio can benefit from all the enormous features of the Word processor, such as opening a large number of document formats.
Three speech synthesis technologies to use
With Biblos it is possible to use as many as three speech synthesis technologies to transform books into audio. Behind an artificial voice that speaks there is a technology, or rather an interface that exposes the functions to allow Software to interact with the synthesis technology. With Biblos it is possible to choose which technology to use:
- IBM ViaVoice Outloud: it is an old voice synthesis technology much loved by blind people. It is a completely artificial speech synthesis, optimized for old computers and still used in some screen readers;
- Microsoft Speech API 5: is a technology developed by Microsoft, more present in some Windows of the past, such as XP, Vista, 7 and 8, but still present in Windows 10 and 11. Typically, speech synthesis using Microsoft SAPI have voices made from human sound samples;
- Microsoft Onecore: is a technology developed by Microsoft starting with Windows 8. It is still present in Windows 10 and 11. Similar to the previous one, it is the current technology with which Microsoft includes in the operating system some voices of immediate use.
Some options to have a better reading
Biblos offers various options to convert books to audio. Below we present three of them, to make the reading better, although there are others that allow you to have an additional conversion quality.
- Pause for each blank line: Books have blank lines. They are anchors for the view that make the parts to be read more identifiable. Biblos uses these lines to make a short pause, so that the reader has the perception that the narrative flow undergoes a change. The pauses are auditory anchors that detach the reading from one scene to frame another;
- The on-the-fly elimination of hyphens: Formatting a book sometimes renders words broken by hyphenation marks. When converting a book to audio, hyphens break the flow of reading, creating a brief and annoying interruption in words. During conversion Biblos removes hyphens on the fly, to make the reading more fluid and pleasant. The technique used to remove the hyphens follows the philosophy adopted within the Word processor, that is, only the hyphens of the words present in the dictionaries are removed;
- Replacements and transliterations: Biblos has a sophisticated system of replacement of words and transliteration of characters. Replacing words with euphonically correct ones is useful to vary the speech synthesis pronunciation and make the diction of difficult or foreign words better. The user can add as many replacements as he wants, using regular expressions or regex if he wants.
How to configure the conversion from book to audio
The first time Biblos is started it shows a configuration wizard window from which you can configure the speech synthesis to be used. In the same configuration wizard window you can return through a simple command in the main menu. For an advanced configuration you can use the voice options window. Configuration only needs to be done once, unless you want to change the conversion features later.
Each speech synthesis technology can be configured in detail, choosing for example tone, speed and volume of speech. All this is done through a pleasant user interface, usable with the Mouse or keyboard, on screen or through a screen reader.
During audiobook conversion
Before the actual conversion, Biblos shows a window from which you can choose the folder where to store the audiobook files. Biblos already proposes one which generally meets the user's expectations.
While Biblos converts a book, it shows a dialog box where you can find an estimate of the time left until the end of the conversion. It also shows the information of the file it is creating at the moment. The conversion can be easily interrupted by clicking the Cancel button.
At the end of the conversion Biblos can automatically open and show the folder containing the created audiobook.
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