Convert Text to Downloadable MP3

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Don't have time to read? Try HearWho.com. This very simple tool allows you to paste any text - a word document, Web page or any other text - into a box, then click a button to convert that text into speech, in a downloadable MP3 format. You can then listen by clicking the speaker or download by right-clicking the speaker and using the "save as" function. Once downloaded, you are free to put that file on your iPod or MP3 player.

We tested it out and, in spite of the ugly page design, it works remarkably well. Conversion is fast (the site says 5 seconds to 5 minutes depending on site usage and length of text) and the sound quality is as good as any on the Web. You can choose the sound quality, male or female voice and it reads in either English or Spanish - of course, it's in that semi-creepy robotic tone. Short text converts in a matter of seconds. A test of about 3,000 words (a lengthy article) took about a minute.

This is a very nice tool for commuting, multi-tasking and just about any activity when you want some information but can't read it off a page. You could even get map directions, paste in the text and then you have a sort of audio turn-by-turn navigation.

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