Mar 26, 2008: Narrator 2.0 for Mac OS X Leopard released
We are proud to announce Narrator 2.0, the latest version of the popular text-to-speech utility for Mac OS X Leopard by Dejal Systems, LLC. At its basic, Dejal Narrator leverages the Mac's speech synthesis to read marked passages of a text document, utilizing specified voice attributes for each of the story lines' parts.
With a focus on ease-of-use, users can have a range of "actors" that can portray any number of "characters", so various passages of the document are spoken with differing voices, pitch, inflection, etc. Words are dynamically highlighted on-screen as passages are read out loud. Choose different voice, rate, pitch, and inflection, as well as volume levels for each character in the story. There are also a couple of silent read-along options for stage directions, or for users to read out their own parts.
To help users better organize stories, Narrator now supports multiple chapters in each document. It also offers a word replacement dictionary to fine-tune the pronunciation.
Dejal Narrator can now export stories as AAC sound files, or export them to iTunes. Users can listen to their stories on an iPod or iPhone, which makes narrator particularly useful for creating audiobooks.
Version 2.0 is a major upgrade, offering many other appearance and functionality improvements:
- New in 2.0.0:
(2008-03-17, R 2006)
- A major redesign of the Narrator document window, in keeping with Leopard standards.
- Replaced the Characters drawer with a source list on the left of the window, with details below.
- Added a Chapters source list above the Characters one. Multiple chapters are now supported, as a way of breaking up long documents, if desired.
- Changed the way speech changes are indicated: instead of using text colors, you now insert markers in the text. You can insert them by selecting a Character and clicking Assign, by double-clicking a Character (not on the text; that will rename it), or by dragging a Character into the text.
- Characters still have colors associated with them, but are only displayed in the marker backgrounds to make them easier to tell apart.
- If text is selected when you Assign, the indicated Character is inserted before the text, and the original Character is inserted after it – useful for marking up quoted dialogue etc.
- You can now select discontinuous blocks of text by holding down the Cmd key when selecting. This is useful to assign several blocks to a Character.
- Bold or italic text is emphasized when speaking, if 15 characters or less, to give more natural and flexible speech.
- The Silent (skip over) Actor now has a Duration option, allowing it to remain on that Character for a brief interval if desired.
- Changed the default Character names from
Default (for Victoria) and
Karaoke (for Silent (read along)) to
You respectively, and added
Note (for Silent (skip over)) as well.
- Added buttons to reset the Rate, Pitch, Inflection and Volume individually.
Welcome to Narrator! document opens automatically the first time you run Narrator, as a demo and explanation of the features.
- Narrator documents now support searches via Spotlight, plus Leopard's new Quick Look thumbnails and previews.
- Now manages the documents using Apple's advanced Core Data framework, allowing fast access, much larger documents, and better Undo support.
- Narrator 2 documents have a file extension of
.narrative. Narrator 2 can open Narrator 1 documents (with an extension of
.narrator), and many other formats.
- Major new features: export as AAC and export to iTunes.
- The Export as AAC function allows saving the speech of the current chapter (or just the selected text, if any is selected) to an AAC-encoded
.m4a sound file, which can be played in the Finder, manually imported to iTunes, or another player. The voices of the various Characters are merged into one sound file, just like listening to them in Narrator.
- The Export to iTunes function is similar to the AAC export, but exports to a location specified in the preferences, and imports that file to iTunes, complete with track attributes, including a transcript of the text as the track's lyrics. This is great for listening to Narrator stories on an iPod or iPhone.
- Added options for the default state of the spelling and grammar checking, and smart copy/paste, quotes and links.
- Added an option to start reading opened documents automatically.
- Added checkboxes to disable or re-enable confirmation sheets when deleting Chapters or Characters.
- Added the ability to set the default font.
- Added preferences to re-open the documents that were open last time you quit, and to create a new document if nothing else opened.
- Added a Dictionary preference page, where you can specify a list of words or phrases to replace with others, to help fine-tune the pronunciation.
- Added an Export preference page, with options for the new export functions.
- Now sets the default preferred release type for the Check for Updates feature based on the type of release used. If you ever use a beta release, it's safe to assume you are comfortable with beta releases, so you are notified of new ones. You can of course override this in the Updates preference pane.
- Added a Restore Factory Settings button to the Updates preferences pane, that changes the preferences in this pane back to the recommended values.
- Now removes the show/hide toolbar button in the Preferences window, as per Apple's Human Interface Guidelines.
- German localization added.
- French localization added.
- The speech is now stopped when the document window is closed.
- Added several features available in Leopard, including grammar checking, smart link detection, smart quotes substitution, Link, List and Table features, style sheets, and more.
- The user guide is now available using Apple Help, so you can read about Narrator without needing to use a web browser. It is still available online, too.
- Enhanced the Licenses window to include more information, support finding lost licenses, support the new upgrade licenses, and more.
- Now offers TrialPay as an option for people who show no interest in purchasing the app (you can choose this at any time via the website).
- Changed the trial reminders to count downwards instead of upwards.
- Added a nifty trial reminder in the window titlebar.
- Removed the random daily license reminders; redundant now that the window title has a reminder.
- Now forces the OS to notice the Services menu command without having to log out.
- Replaced the feedback and e-mail options in the Help menu with Narrator Support Forum and Dejal Blog items.
- Added VersionTracker, MacUpdate and iusethis to the Help menu, along with the Narrator Voice Talent page (where you can get more voices).
- Changed the way the version and release numbers are updated internally.
- The Dejal logo was professionally redesigned by Emily Pfeifer, so all places it occurred have been updated.
- Upgraded to the latest development tools under Mac OS X Leopard, and many behind-the-scenes improvements.
- Switched the distribution method to ZIP archives instead of disk images, as it's simpler for everyone. Feedback welcome!
- Built as a Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel architectures.
- Now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Version 1.1.4 is still available and still works back to Mac OS X 10.1.5.
- Narrator 2 is a paid upgrade from Narrator 1. Everyone who purchased Narrator since October 1, 2007 is eligible for a free upgrade; contact me to get your license.
Pricing and Availability:
Dejal Narrator 2.0 is available as a single-user license for only $19.00 USD, and available as a full-featured demo. There are also Household and Site licenses available.
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