Errors in text can sometimes be hard to find. Not the big and ugly ones, but the little, seemingly innocuous oversights, like missing or repeated words. It’s because the mind wants to find meaning, and it will readily compensate for what it feels is close enough.
For istnacne, msot of yuo wlil prboblay be albe to
to raed tihs wtihuot any graet mnetal eforft.
It’s normally a good thing, but maybe not so helpful when you’re trying to get some copyediting done. One way to compensate – have it read aloud to you. But I don’t mean by another person.
Unlike a person, a speech synthesis program has no context or expectation-bias, so it will read everything on the page in a literal, straightforward manner. Feeding your text through one can be very handy for catching those last little silly errors, and just hearing your story spoken back to you can be useful for a number of other reasons (not to mention the entertainment value of having it done in a droning, not-quite-right electronic voice).
Most computer (or phone, for that matter) operating systems come with speech synthesis these days, but there are also plenty of websites and free downloadable programs out there which will do the trick. My personal favorite is Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, which has a pretty competent one built in. Rather than printing my drafts out, I like to convert them for the Kindle to get a more natural and focused read-through, and the option to have it speak it is right there, so it works out nicely.
It’s also funny to hear it pronounce every single one of the proper nouns correctly…except for the most important ones (i.e., any of my protagonists). (>^-‘)>
There isn’t a perfect text-to-speech program out there yet, but they’re still fun to play around with, and can make for a handy utility in your writing arsenal. What means have you found work best for catching all your typographical blunders?