I posted this question in meta, to allow the community to verify whether or not it's on topic before release. I am unsure if this is the recommended procedure.

I was told by another writer that editing your work by allowing the computer to read it back through voice synthesis allows the writer to hear every word. This is in opposition to re-reading the work through paraphrase and memorization. This makes sense in terms of editing, because the goal of editing is to read the work in the lens of the another reader, not you.

However there is a difference between a computer voice synthesis and an actual human. A human can pronounce the words better and compose each sentence in its intended melody of syllables. To my knowledge computer voice synthesis cannot dictate excellent pronunciation, nor compose a melody. Voice synthesis reads the work in a brutality butchered manner.

I tried voice synthesis a few minutes, and it figuratively felt like my ears were bleeding and I wanted to turn it off. I now have a question about my voice synthesis experience. Should I try to rewrite my work to sound as pleasant as possible through voice synthesis, or is voice synthesis so butchering, it simply cannot be done?

Is editing your work using voice synthesis too hard core?


1 Answer 1


About Pre-Posting to Meta

It isn't recommended practice to post an entire question on Meta as "screening" for the main site. Just as we don't want an off-topic question on the main site, so we don't want an off-topic question on the meta site :)

That being said, I understand why you felt this one was borderline. You're asking whether a particular method is useful, or just bizarre, but anything that might be bizarre - might be off-topic.

The best thing to do, in these cases, is either:

  • If you're fairly sure it is on-topic, or borderline, then post it. The very worst that can happen is that it'll be closed as off-topic (and even then you'll probably get a discussion or an explanation why).
  • Asking on Meta is great; but as on the main site, it's better to ask a general question that will benefit future visitors, rather than asking about your one specific post. So, "Is this particular question on-topic" is much less helpful than asking, say "Are questions about seemingly extreme or weird editing methods on-topic," and you can give your question as an example. That'll be better at rooting out a clear policy and guidelines.

I will say, though, that while I recommend strongly against using Meta for pre-posting, I wouldn't disallow it entirely. Meta is different, and I want us to be able to help whoever needs help. If you feel like you need a meta question for your specific post, then I can roll with that. (If somebody starts posting regularly to Meta for large numbers of questions, and clearly isn't bothering to become familiar with our on-topic/off-topic guidelines, then that would be a problem. But that's obviously not your case.)

Is This Question On-Topic

I'm inclined to say that "Is voice synthesis good for the purpose of hearing my prose out loud?" is very much on-topic. It's a straightforward problem that relates directly to writing.

As a lot of "is this technique a good one?" questions, it may prove to be on-topic but not particularly good, because the standard answer is "If you feel like it's working for you, then great, and if you don't, stop." But you're also likely to get answers about voice synthesis (maybe you're using a poor synthesis program, and there are better ones!), or other techniques for listening to your own work. If we get there, it might prove not merely on-topic, but quite good :)

(In fact, you might edit slightly to ask for focus on practical solutions to your problems - not "is this OK" but "are there tools/techniques to make this work".)

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