Use Text-to-Speech Apps to “Read” Academic Journal Articles

PDFIf you’re like me, you likely have a long list of things to read. You may also have time commuting, cleaning, cooking, or doing other tasks when you could listen to something. Thankfully, you can have your device (smart phone, iPod touch, etc.) read PDF’s to you.

There are different apps available and I suggest you do some research to find the one that will work best for you (they vary by cost, user-friendliness, features, etc.). Once you find the one you want (I’m currently using vBookz PDF), you can have it read journal articles to you.

1) The computer-generated voice sounds strange. Thankfully, you’ll likely get used to it over time.
2) T
he apps don’t handles tables very well. As a sociologist, many, but not all, of the articles I read have tables. I decided to use the app  for review articles and qualitative research.
3) Articles that you need to use OCR software on probably won’t be worth listening to. Thankfully, this isn’t necessary for most recent journal articles.

1) You can get through your reading list while doing other things. This is the main reason I searched out whether there was a way to do this. Time that would otherwise be wasted (such as commuting) becomes semi-productive.
2) You can set the reading speed. This is important because your ability to focus may very depending on what you’re doing.


Filed under Productivity

2 responses to “Use Text-to-Speech Apps to “Read” Academic Journal Articles

  1. Debra Walters

    Have you tried the text to speech solutions built by iSpeech?
    I believe they have the best natural sounding voices out there and they have also built a Chrome Extension:

  2. CC

    “Paper to Audio” is a chrome extension specifically for converting academic papers to speech (this includes PDFs). It gets rid of references etc. when speaking the text.

    The link is:

    It may have a few bugs which I’m still trying to sort out. Hope this helps.

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