Getting tired of Alex? Has your relationship with Victoria waned over the years? Voices for Mac can spruce up your aural interactions with Mac OS X’s text-to-speech feature, with the addition of new voices for your listening pleasure.
Text-to-speech reads back any highlighted text, allowing you to listen to text you’d otherwise have to read. It’s frequently used for OS X’s VoiceOver screen-access technology, or just to ‘read’ something while you’re within earshot of your Mac’s speakers. With AppleScript or third-party utilities, you can also package the sound as a podcast and take it with you on an iPod or iPhone. (I use it when proofreading my writing—engaging both the visual and verbal parts of my brain catches errors I’d otherwise miss.) Your Mac ships with six high-quality voices, and a bunch more that debuted on the classic Mac OS, but you can install more.
Voices for Mac offers eight voices, and sticks with the Mac nomenclature for naming them: David and Callie sound (to my northeastern U.S. ears) uninflected; Dallas and Belle are southern regional; Lawrence and Millie sound like they just stepped out of a BBC broadcasting booth.
Individual voices cost $30 a piece, save Dallas ($40), apparently because he’s extra-sultry. All voices are available as unlimited trials, but the voices will remind you to buy a license from time to time.