Read The Words is a text to speech service that is offering quite an impressive amount of options for a web application. It is not only possible to paste text that is read to you but to furthermore upload text documents in various formats, let the service read websites to you and even let it convert RSS feeds to speech.
Most options are available after registering to the service which is rather hassle free. Once you've done that you can access the main page where you can make a decision about the type of text to speech service that you want to use. Several general options are available that customize the output further.
It is possible to select one speaker out of 15 available ones. Male and female speakers are available as well as speakers with accents (US, UK and Indian) and Spanish and French speakers. The reading speed can be changed as well, you can slow it down by a maximum of 25% and speed it up by up to 70%.
My test recordings took less than a minute to generate but it surely depends on the size of the text. Once the recording is done it is accessible online in an embedded media player but it can also be downloaded as an mp3 file or embedded on another website. A Podcast column is available as well which was not clickable at the time of this writing. Recordings can be deleted as well.
The option to convert websites to speech is nice but you should avoid websites with lots of menus and stuff. I did a test with an article at Ghacks and everything was processed. The menu was included as well as the footer. If the website has a print option use that because this normally comes without menu and other stuff. If there is nothing like that you might want to consider copying and pasting the text instead.
The speech itself is well done. You still notice that the speaker is a computer and not a real human, especially between words. The words itself are pronounced very nicely as far as I can tell.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.