Even with VoiceOver turned off, you can have iPhone read aloud any text you select. iPhone analyzes the text to determine the language, then reads it to you using the appropriate pronunciation.
Turn on Speak Selection. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection. There you can also:
Choose a language, dialect, and voice quality
Adjust the speaking rate
Choose to have individual words highlighted as they’re read
Have text read to you. Select the text, then tap Speak.