The Spoken Wowpedia project aims to produce recordings of Wowpedia articles being read aloud. See the spoken articles category for articles that have already been recorded.
How to create a spoken article
- Choose an article
- Check the article talk page to see if a recording is in progress.
- Upload the file
- Add the recording link to the article
Some people wonder why creating spoken recordings of articles is worthwhile, so a quick discussion of the unique benefits is in order.
- Spoken articles make Wowpedia content available to those who can understand English but cannot read it.
- Users can listen to Wowpedia articles while they perform tasks that preclude reading but not concentration (such as driving, biking, running, doing housework, etc.).
- Visually impaired users can use screen readers, of course, but with current technology, they may not be as accurate as a human vocal performance. This is particularly true of articles relating to science, mathematics, linguistics, and other areas where unusual pronunciation or symbols are prevalent.
- They are a valuable learning tool for those learning English, but only if a link is given to the version of the page that is read. This allows readers to listen to the words being pronounced while reading the words.
- They are a valuable learning tool for auditory learners (people who learn most effectively by listening to information delivered orally).
- Some may find it easier to concentrate on reading an article while listening to it, especially in an environment with distracting sounds (with the use of headphones).
- In performing the articles aloud, readers end up catching inconsistencies, redundancies, and awkward phrases that might have been missed by other editors. In this way, the written version of Wowpedia improves.
However, the project does have some difficulties and drawbacks that one should be aware of:
- Recording and editing articles can be time-consuming, and recordings are sometimes abandoned or have their source text dramatically changed before they are finished.
- Incorrect pronunciation can mislead non-English-speaking users.
- To maintain a consistent vocal sound and to avoid the degradation in sound quality that comes from re-editing compressed audio files, edits to an existing recording should be done by the original recorder. Thus, in cases where a recording needs to be modified and the original recorder is not available to do it, the recording may need to be re-recorded entirely or removed.
- The audio file format used is the open source standard, Ogg Vorbis, which avoids proprietary formats which may include DRM provisions. However, audio files encoded in Ogg Vorbis are not widely supported in many portable digital music players. For information on how to play Ogg Vorbis files on a computer, see the Ogg media help page.
- Wowpedia articles are constantly evolving. Once created, audio versions become less and less accurate when compared with the current article (unless updated too).
- There is no way to follow or indicate links.
For people wishing to listen to articles that don't yet have a spoken version, software that converts text to voice is readily available and can be easily used to read out Wowpedia pages on-the-fly.