Editing papers using text-to-speech software

I spent a large chunk of today editing a paper that I’m submitting for publication this week, which has inspired me to share one of my favorite tricks for editing in general. Inspired by this ProfHacker article last year, I started using a text-to-speech tool to “read” my papers to me for the final look-through.

This has the huge advantage of being completely objective, slowly-paced, and able to pick up things like doubled words or missing modifiers. There are a ton of tools out there, but I am partial to the Announcify Chrome extension, which has a nice pause button and is easy to use. Plus I like cloud software way better than desktop software, and I sometimes use it to read online articles well.

My (extremely hacky) workflow for this is as follows. Note this works especially nicely if you have two screens.

  1. Copy LaTeX text into a Google Doc, and publish the document to the web (under File).
  2. Read the published document using Announcify, skipping through tables and long equations.
  3. Edit document in Texmaker, pausing Announcify if necessary.

There was also an article about how you can use the built-in software in a Kindle to edit long documents, presumably while lounging on your couch sipping hot cocoa.