In Italian a "libro parlato" is an ordinary book which has been recorded with a person's real voice (thus giving the book a pleasant "mood" listening experience which cannot currently be achieved through a phone's Text-to-Speech function, however good that may be.

My question is, how would you translate "libro parlato" in English? I need to ask a question about these on a stackexchange site but do not know what to call it. Thanks.

migrated from italian.stackexchange.com Feb 5 '16 at 17:32

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  • True. Could you please migrate my post to English SE or English Learners SE? Thanks. – Jack Maddington Feb 5 '16 at 17:18
  • I'll do it right now. – Charo Feb 5 '16 at 17:31
  • As others have said, audiobook (see Wikipedia) (or audio book) is idiomatic. But I think a spoken book would also work. – GoDucks Feb 5 '16 at 18:28
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    I've never heard of "libro parlato". In Italian it is called audiobilbro: dizionari.repubblica.it/Italiano/A/audiolibro.php – user66974 Feb 5 '16 at 18:30

I think most people just call them...

audiobooks (or talking books) - a recording of a text being read

If you had an ebook (a book that is read on a computer or other electronic device) you probably wouldn't start calling it an "audiobook" just because you happened to have your computer read it out using a software-based text-to-speech app. It strongly implies read aloud by a human being.

  • Thank you. Based on uour answer, I was wondering whether any e-books existed that are also audiobooks (that is, the current word is highlighted as it is read, and special keys can be used to pause, play, jump back and forth between words and sentences or spell the current word (I've asked this on Software Recommendations SE but have yet to obtain a satisfactory answer). Thanks. – Jack Maddington Feb 5 '16 at 18:03
  • @Jack: I suspect anything like that would be quite labour-intensive (software wouldn't reliably identify the exact position in the text, and unavoidably sometimes the human reader would say something that didn't exactly match the text anyway). Bear in mind the primary / original purpose of audiobooks is / was to give blind people independent access to texts, (which naturally gets funded by charities and the State). But you're presumably thinking in terms of a study aid for people trying to learn English, which is far less likely to be funded like that. – FumbleFingers Feb 5 '16 at 18:35
  • "Books on tape" is also popular, although they're rarely on tape anymore. – Casey Feb 6 '16 at 4:22
  • @FumbleFingers, what I am suggesting would be good not only for the blind but also to people learning any subject, be it a language, math, physics, a novel, etc., and let us not forget that these learners could also be blind. And people with learning disabilities could also benefit. For example, if you're like me, you need something said to you many many times over and over again to remember it. A science book recorded this way would not be too labor intensive. – Jack Maddington Feb 6 '16 at 16:35
  • At least, if a software marker tag were placed between every sentence, the user could easily navigate the main portions of the book. That shouldn't be too labor intensive. This could at least be done for books where it was worth it. How many times have you gotten distracted or spaced out while text was being read, and needed to hear a bit of sound again? My Samsung Galaxy SIII has a speech to text functionality. Why not run text through such software and automatically retrieve the sentence or word markers? – Jack Maddington Feb 6 '16 at 16:55

An audiobook is a "recording of a book or magazine being read" (here).

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    Slightly older and less formal is "talking book," particularly those recorded for the blind. – Rob_Ster Feb 5 '16 at 17:41

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