Tuesday, April 10, 2012
App of the Month
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.