Top text-to-speech apps for law school students
Law school students have a lot on their plates when it comes to their studies, and there are many resources that can help budding lawyers better retain the information they need to earn their degree. Whether you’re studying criminal law, family law, tort law, or another type of law practice, TTS software can help you succeed.
Text-to-speech software makes it easier to consume written text faster than if you were reading it out of a book. The average person can read about 250 wpm but can listen at speeds of 400 words or even more. Here’s what to know about text-to-speech applications for law school students and which apps are the best to try if you’re a paralegal, attorney, or another type of legal professional.
What is text-to-speech software, and how does it work?
Text-to-speech software is a type of speech recognition software that transcribes text and converts it into spoken word. It is often used by individuals with vision, learning, or reading disabilities that make it difficult to see, interpret, and comprehend written text. The software uses advanced technology to read text characters, words, and phrases and creates speech sounds that mimic a human voice. The result is a realistic-sounding robotic voice that can read both typed and scanned text aloud at varying speeds.
The benefits of using text-to-speech software for law students
Law students, solo attorneys, big law firms, and other legal professionals can benefit greatly from using TTS applications to transcribe written text into spoken word. Some programs also do the reverse and transcribe spoken word into written text. This is known as dictation. It is important to note that not all TTS programs include dictation software, and not all dictation programs provide TTS features.
Some of the benefits of text-to-speech software for law students and other legal professionals include but are not limited to:
Better information comprehension and retention.—Legal concepts can be difficult to understand, and learning disabilities like dyslexia can make reading complex written content challenging. Reading legal textbooks into the wee hours of the morning is also hard on the eyes, and TTS programs can read text aloud to students instead, allowing them to consume more material even faster.
Saving time.—Law students can take shortcuts when it comes to basic administrative tasks like transcription or notetaking and put more of their time and energy into their core curriculums. Speech-to-text technology allows legal professionals to use dictation software to record important things without having to type or write.
More efficient document management.—Instead of typing content into a document manually, law school students can dictate a document directly into their mobile device or computer. They can even command their devices to open new documents and save them after transcribing their text, making it possible to create documents without ever touching a keyboard.
Automated document review.—Legal documents like contracts can be reviewed with artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can help determine if a document meets predefined criteria. If not, the document can be pulled for revision without having devoted any labor to the initial screening process.
The American Bar Association (ABA) also suggests that text-to-speech applications can be a valuable asset for students pursuing a legal degree, especially with new voice recognition software updates that include more legal terminology.
How to use text-to-speech software in law school
Text-to-speech software can be used to read aloud text on web pages, social media newsfeeds, Microsoft Word documents, dictionaries, and other text resources commonly used by law practices. In reverse, speech-to-text can also be used as a legal technology to record meetings, statements, testimonies, and arguments and convert them into a text transcription.
Top tips for using text-to-speech software in law school
Using TTS applications is typically easy and straightforward and most programs that are currently available don’t have a steep learning curve. Still, it may take a few tries to get used to using a text-to-speech program. Here are some top tips that will help you use text-to-speech software to streamline your workflow in law school and beyond:
Use proper punctuation.—Text-to-speech programs use punctuation like periods and commas to denote pauses in between sentences. Without these, a TTS reader will not be able to understand which speech sounds to make and how these speech sounds should be put together.
Check your spelling.—Don’t rely on spell check alone to make sure the spelling is correct in your text before uploading it to a TTS application. Many words can be spelled correctly but are used in the wrong context, resulting in a different pronunciation of the word by a TTS voice.
Preview the audio.—Before transcribing a long text to speech, preview the audio to make sure you like the voice, tone, style, and pitch. If you want to change any of these things, it’s easier to do so before the entire text has been transcribed.
The best text-to-speech software programs for law students
Law students can use just about any speech recognition software program successfully, as can people in nearly every industry vertical. However, some TTS apps come more highly recommended for professionals in the legal field. Here are three of the best text-to-speech apps for law students:
Amazon Polly is a user-friendly, cloud-based API that allows users to generate high-quality text-to-speech output and has no restrictions on how users can replicate, publish, store, or reuse content produced using the app. While students enjoy the accessibility and simplicity of this program, one of its primary benefits is the ability to create a completely custom brand voice. This is an excellent feature for established law practices but is generally used infrequently by law school students.
Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is a TTS program that can be easily used by students who have certain visual conditions or reading problems like dyslexia, whether or not they are specifically in law school. Students can perform a number of useful functions within the text uploaded to the program, like highlighting, bookmarking, and notes. Users can also control the tone, pitch, and speed of reading. The program is compatible with iOS 5 or later on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch devices.
Speechify is a leading text-to-speech software program that has some of the most dynamic, easy-to-understand, and natural-sounding TTS voices currently on the market today. It offers more than 60 different languages, many of which are completely exclusive to the program and not available anywhere else. It has the highest reading output speeds of all text-to-speech apps at a staggering 900 words per minute (WPM), saving students a ton of time and effort. Speechify also comes in a completely free and a premium version, which you can try out with a free trial.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is dictation software?
A dictation tool or dictation software is a type of computer program with voice recognition software that allows users to speak into a microphone and translate speech to text.
What do lawyers use text dictation for?
Attorneys and other legal professionals rely heavily on text dictation for many parts of their job. Writing legal briefs, emailing clients and their opposition’s legal teams, and taking notes are tedious and painstaking tasks without speech-to-text software. On the other hand, speech recognition technology allows up-and-coming attorneys to dictate text instead of typing or writing, allowing law school students to focus more on the meaningful parts of their studies.
What is the best text-to-speech dictation tool for lawyers using iOS devices, Android devices, or other mobile devices?
There are many great text-to-speech dictation tools for both iOS and Android mobile devices, but after careful comparison, Amazon Polly, Speechify, and Voice Dream Reader stand out from the rest in terms of accessibility, usability, and efficacy. Of the three, Speechify takes the lead with the most natural-sounding voices and foreign language options.
How can I improve my writing skills for law school?
There are many ways to improve your legal writing skills, including but not limited to:
Avoid using contractions.—Contractions are informal and don’t work well for legal content. Write things like “can’t,” “don’t,” and “it’s” as full phrases like “cannot,” “do not,” and “it is.” This is an easy and effective way to elevate your writing.
Never write in the first person.—Writing in the third person is best for legal documents like contracts and judgments.
Break up long sentences and bulky paragraphs.—Shorter sentences are better and leaving enough white space in between paragraphs helps with formatting and reading comprehension. Readers are less likely to be able to understand a six-line paragraph than they would two paragraphs that are three lines each.
Use the Oxford comma.—Oxford commas help to clarify items in a list and when not used, a legal text may have entirely different implications. (See the Oxford comma lawsuit.)
Text-to-speech software programs are a great resource for law school students who want to streamline their workflow and reduce the time they spend on tasks that have little impact on their overall education. TTS can make studying for legal exams easier and using the technology in reverse allows legal professionals to transcribe their speech to text. Speechify is a leading TTS application for law school students—and its features exceed those of its competitors, particularly for individuals in the legal field.