Tuesday, April 10, 2012

App of the Month

I'm doing a guest blogger today.  Yup.

No, I'm not resting on my laurels, but Birdie, who you might know from here (and was the first blogger I had ever met in person) is tasked with reviewing an app I most likely would never have the need for.  But you never know.

"Tasked" might be strong, but I did reach out her asking is she'd like to review it. She readily agreed.  ...and since she even wrote part of the backstory, I don't even have to intro it. 

When I had surgery a couple of months ago, one vocal cord was damaged when I was intubated. It resulted in further surgery to remove the scar tissue from my vocal cord, and I was unable to speak for three weeks.

For the first few days of this, I would gesture that I could not speak, and people around me would suddenly go mute. They would gesture or start writing, even after I would indicate that I could hear. It was laughable, if I could only laugh.

Short encounters at the cash register or bank window went well enough with notes, but when I was in meetings or in conversations at home, gesturing and writing wasn’t working. My speech therapist recommended I use the Speakit! app on my iPad. It was a good idea. (It also works on the iPhone, a handy thing at restaurants.)

I can type faster than I can write, and people didn’t have to be next to me to read when I used Speakit!. The $2 app offers four voices (two each male and female, American or British) that are reasonably easy to understand. A few words still mess up the program and cannot be understood, but people usually understood the context.

The iPad version can store text. I used it to introduce the program to people, to store my husband’s name so I could get his attention—he hated that —and to write things I needed to bring up in a meeting. When I planned ahead, I could change the spelling of a word that didn’t come out right. For example, I named the program “Cyrano” and stored it in my introduction. But Speakit pronounced it seerAHno. I played with it a bit and found that “seerah no” got the pronunciation I needed.

Other than the occasional odd pronunciation, I highly recommend this app for those whose voice cannot be strained for a while. The speech is richer and louder on the iPad because it has better speakers, but it is adequate on the iPhone as well.

There are a ton of extra voices you can purchase for $1 each, including translations. You can write in English and select the French voice to say it in French. Wonderful for travel!

Can’t beat it for the price.


tornwordo said...

It does look cool for traveling.

Erik Rubright said...

I think I would use it to just randomly annoy people. Well, annoy them more than I currently do. ;-)