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Thread: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

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  1. #1
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    Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Hello,

    I'm looking for a program where I highlight text and it will read the text. The problem with Ocra is that it's not on demand, it reads everything automatically. I'm looking for something that is on demand, only when I need it.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    I've had this issue on and off since I started using Linux 2 years ago. One solution I found (and got used to) was the KDE text-to-speech system. It was a combination of software called "kttsmgr" and "ksayit", along with whatever dependencies and custom voices were available. Then one day, "ksayit" vanished. "ksayit" was the frontend application that allowed the kind of text-to-speech use you and I want- selectively - where the screen reader speaks only what we tell it to say. It was buggy in Gnome (I don't use KDE) and the voices, frankly, suck. The least horrible of all of them sounded to me like a drunken Scottish C3PO.

    With my recent update on all my systems to Ubuntu 9.04, "ksayit" just wasn't there any more. I've asked around, but never gotten an answer as to why it's no longer in the Ubuntu repositories.
    I have no idea if the KDE text-to-speech system (or Gnome's) can even be used selectively. Rather than find out, I've gone about things in a bit of a complicated workaround.

    I have VirtualBox 2 installed in Ubuntu, and with it I can run a virtualized Windows XP installation. With an extra copy of Windows XP I have, I'm able to use a windows application I bought a long time ago called "TextAloud mp3". That program is the best for selective text-to-speech that I have ever found. It didn't work at all under the previous version of VirtualBox, but the new version handles it quite well.

    TextAloud mp3 has the convenient feature of "watching" the clipboard, so if text above a threshold limit is copied (like a news article) the program will automatically start reading the text. The program is MUCH easier to listen to and understand than anything I've heard in Linux, and the custom pronunciation feature actually works for me.

    Search around these forums for info on how to get VirtualBox running.

    Much as I hate to admit it, in text-to-speech, Windows has Linux solidly beat. I'd love to use a more direct and less memory and CPU intensive way of getting my computer to talk to me, but as far as I know, in Linux it just doesn't exist yet.

  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    How bad do you want it?

    I can tell you how to get TextAloud running in Linux and with a bit of work can provide a modified Linux application / plugin / tool that will do the bits of what TextAloud does that you want.

    I used to use a very simple app in windows that monitored the clipboard for new text and just used to speak what ever i copied.I found that quite nice.

    Plus you can use your nice SAPI voices in Linux now but it takes a little setting up.

    NL
    Open SAPI - MS Speech in Linux: http://code.google.com/p/open-sapi/

    RockboxPlayer - Open Source MP3/4 Player: http://code.google.com/p/rockboxplayer/

  4. #4
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    Apr 2009
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    10

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Software for Ubuntu, run "sudo apt-get install festival"

    Software for Windows and for free, take a look at panopreter.com
    Last edited by nruner; July 15th, 2009 at 10:59 AM.

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Question Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by notlistening View Post
    How bad do you want it?

    I can tell you how to get TextAloud running in Linux and with a bit of work can provide a modified Linux application / plugin / tool that will do the bits of what TextAloud does that you want.

    I used to use a very simple app in windows that monitored the clipboard for new text and just used to speak what ever i copied.I found that quite nice.

    Plus you can use your nice SAPI voices in Linux now but it takes a little setting up.

    NL
    Are the procedures one could do using WinE to make sapi-driven voices talk in linux would also work in making Orca screen reader be understood better..?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    One step ahead of the game here but i need some more developers on the project.

    http://code.google.com/p/open-sapi/

    Tom
    Open SAPI - MS Speech in Linux: http://code.google.com/p/open-sapi/

    RockboxPlayer - Open Source MP3/4 Player: http://code.google.com/p/rockboxplayer/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Odense, dk
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    Hidden!
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    If you need it in danish you can get it at www.adgangforalle.dk

  8. #8
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by notlistening View Post
    One step ahead of the game here but i need some more developers on the project.

    http://code.google.com/p/open-sapi/

    Tom
    Would that project allow a Linux user to use voices made for Windoze in Linux like ATT Natural Voices, Cepstral, and others?
    Linux Advanced Guides and News!
    http://linuxinnovations.blogspot.com/

    Green means go, Yellow means faster, Red means don't stop.

  9. #9
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    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by cdahmedeh View Post
    Hello,

    I'm looking for a program where I highlight text and it will read the text. The problem with Ocra is that it's not on demand, it reads everything automatically. I'm looking for something that is on demand, only when I need it.

    Thanks
    Have you tried my application? It's still in early development, but there's more to come. Linux has two clipboards. One is the one most people are familiar with when you copy highlighted text. The other is called the selection buffer or X selection. It's buffer gets filled with text as soon as you highlight something. This is usually used in Linux to highlight some text and then push down the middle mouse button where you want to paste it. I've just figured out how to read that text with programming, so I can implement it in my program to read text as soon as it's highlighted. Currently my app reads what you highlight and copy to the primary clipboard.

    You can download it here.
    http://nanomachine.byethost22.com/files
    Linux Advanced Guides and News!
    http://linuxinnovations.blogspot.com/

    Green means go, Yellow means faster, Red means don't stop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    UK
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Wink Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    I like the idea of using your multimedia keys with such an application or global key/mouse (I like the idea of using my scroll wheel to skip) bindings that allows you to pause/resume skip back, skip forward, repeat etc. This could be done with a small notification area at the top right for example with the text in and highlighting a bit like text aloud when it is reading.

    I have just developed the ability to provide RAW audio streams from SAPI with event tracking. So you can get information into your application such as the position of the word/sentence boundaries. This allows your app to process the audio stream as it wants and to skip around as the user requests with quite basic data stream work. This can be seen in Text Aloud, it is the way they highlight the current word when it is reading the text.

    Not usable by other applications yet but will be soon.
    Open SAPI - MS Speech in Linux: http://code.google.com/p/open-sapi/

    RockboxPlayer - Open Source MP3/4 Player: http://code.google.com/p/rockboxplayer/

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