Change text to speech reading speed

Each text to speech voice has a standard reading speed, usually similar to a native speaker of a language. This is typically great for content intended for other native speakers. If you’re creating voiceover for a global audience, or text to speech language lessons, it’s often useful to slow down the voices a bit. Similarly, if you’re making content for radio ads, sometimes it’s important to speed up the text to speech pronunciation, so you can fit more words into a set duration.

You can use the Narakeet audio stage directions, to control the pronunciation speed, and many other voice properties. This quick tutorial shows how to speed up or slow down text to speech voices.

Use predefined speed settings

In addition to the standard reading speed, each text to speech voice also has presets for slow and fast reading. You can activate them using a stage direction (make sure to leave at least one blank line between the stage direction and the text).

The stage direction applies to all the text that follows, until you cancel it or set the voice to a different speed. Here’s an example that first slows down the reading, then speeds it up, then goes back to normal.

(voice-speed: slow)

This is slower than usual.

(voice-speed: fast)

This is faster than usual.

(voice-speed: normal)

This is back to normal reading speed.

Use custom speed settings

If you do not like the predefined slow/fast speeds, you can also set the voice reading speed as a numeric multiplier. The value 1 corresponds to the normal reading speed. Values between 0 and 1 will make the voice read proportionally slower. Values above 1 will make the voice read faster.

For example, the following script uses first slightly slower/faster reading, then changes the voice speed considerably, then goes back to normal.

(voice-speed: 0.9)

This is slightly slower than normal.

(voice-speed: 1.1)

This is slightly faster than normal.

(voice-speed: 0.5)

This is half-speed.

(voice-speed: 2)

This is twice the normal speed.

(voice-speed: 1)

This is back to normal reading speed.

Switch back to normal reading speed

To switch back to usual reading speed, just set the speed to the normal speed, for example:

(voice-speed: normal)

Alternatively, you can reset all voice settings back to standard values by starting a new scene. Scene breaks are written as three dashes on a line, with at least one blank line above/below.

Here is an example that slows down the voice for two sentences, then starts a new scene to switch back to the usual voice reading speed.

(voice-speed: slow)

This is slower than usual.

This is also going to be slower.


This is a new scene, starting from default speed