While browsing around the net in search of good audio/voice bits to listen to, I stumbled into LibriVox. The site bears the tagline “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”, which sounds extremely attractive to me, so I couldn’t help exploring it a bit more.

I did not only find a library of free audiobooks (for copyright reasons, they are inevitably limited to titles published before 1923), but also discovered that LibriVox rely entirely on volunteers to build up a vast and reliable collection of books you can listen to. So far, unsurprisingly, the catalog consists mainly of english texts, but they proudly declare “we record books in all languages”. If you feel like doing something useful, and sharing your voice with other people, you can browse through the list of books “in progress” and propose to read a chapter for them. I’m currently listening to a good version of Henry James’ The Turn of The Screw.

If a whole book or chapter seems an overwhelming task, you can contribute your bit to another project. Forvo is a free pronounciation dictionary: the aim is collecting the correct pronounciation of words in every language, and it’s a hard one. The library of pronounced words is still in its early stages and, as you can imagine, is limited, arbitrary and partly inaccurate (requests of words to be pronounced are submitted by users who do not perfectly know the language they want to hear). Here too, as a native speaker of your language, you can offer to record some words. I’m really curious to see how this thing develops in time: with a good collaboration of users, it could become an useful resource.