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Thread: Text to Speech

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  1. #1
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    Text to Speech

    Howdy,
    I just installed Ubuntu 7.04 and I really like it, especially its speed compared to XP. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get any text to speech software to work yet. If I could get a speech synthesiser to read text for me like I can with windows (using "TextAloud MP3"), I could abandon that other OS altogether, as 'reading' news is what I do most with this PC.
    Is there any good text-to-speech software that will run in Ubuntu? I've read about and downloaded something called "Festival" but I don't know what to do with all those files and I've read that it doesn't have a GUI. Any tips to have me listening to my text would be very welcome.

  2. #2
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    Re: Text to Speech

    Ubuntu Feisty ships with a screenreader named Orca.

    Have a look at the menu System->Preferencs->Accessibility->Assistive Technology Preferences.

    That might help you.

    Francesco

  3. #3
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    Re: Text to Speech

    Thanks. That's a great start... but ideally I want something that only reads what I tell it to read, not every window that comes to the foreground.

  4. #4
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    Re: Text to Speech

    I am visually impaired and often find it nice to have software read for me as an addition to my screen magnification software. So I do understand the desire to have software that will read what I tell it to read.

    There are several programs that may help you

    Here is a small list of useful programs and add-ons. The links have more details about the programs and how to install them...

    Emacspeak- this is a talking extension to the emacs editor
    <http://emacspeak.sourceforge.net/>
    This can be installed easily using the synaptic package manager or 'apt-get install emacspeak'. but make sure that all of the dependencies are satisfied prior to installing emacspeak other wise it will not function properly.
    KTTS- KDE text to speech system
    This works well with KDE, and allows items on the clipboard to be spoken.
    <http://accessibility.kde.org/developer/kttsd/>
    I think this should be installed by default, maybe. But if it not, you can install it using synaptic package manager. The website will have a more information.

    Read Out Loud- This is for the Adobe PDF reader, it allows for pdfs to be spoken. Very nice when you just want to listen to a PDF document.
    This link has information on how to set up Read Out Loud
    <http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/8.0/Standard/help.html?content=WS58a04a822e3e50102bd61510979419 5ff-7d15.html>
    And this link has the software ...
    <http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/>

    ClickSpeak- This is an exension for firefox. It will speak web pages for you, and highlight the text while it reads. (I realy like this alot! It can also be used with or without Orca for speech which is realy nifty)
    <http://clickspeak.clcworld.net/>
    Click on installation guide, and follow the directions to install the extension.

    Hope that you find this useful.
    Have a wonderful day.

    -Joann

  5. #5
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    Re: Text to Speech

    Quote Originally Posted by joann View Post
    I am visually impaired and often find it nice to have software read for me as an addition to my screen magnification software. So I do understand the desire to have software that will read what I tell it to read.

    ...

    KTTS- KDE text to speech system
    This works well with KDE, and allows items on the clipboard to be spoken.
    <http://accessibility.kde.org/developer/kttsd/>
    I think this should be installed by default, maybe. But if it not, you can install it using synaptic package manager. The website will have a more information.
    Does this have an option to automatically read clipboard contents like 2nd Speech Center and TextAloud in Windows? Have you tested this with Gnome?

    Read Out Loud- This is for the Adobe PDF reader, it allows for pdfs to be spoken. Very nice when you just want to listen to a PDF document.
    This link has information on how to set up Read Out Loud
    <http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Acrobat/8.0/Standard/help.html?content=WS58a04a822e3e50102bd61510979419 5ff-7d15.html>
    And this link has the software ...
    <http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/>
    I've gotten this to work in Windows. I thought the Linux version of Adobe Reader just left this feature not implemented. I just searched the link you provided. Nothing comes up when doing a search on that site for linux. I am fairly sure I've tried to use this feature in Linux before a while back, and it was "greyed out" where I couldn't click on it.

    I've gotten very used to having TTS software such as 2nd Speech Center and TextAloud in Windows, and it's been a real pain in the butt not to have something as functional in Linux. I started the development of a Open Source TTS software written in Java that will use existing tts engines such as festival and espeak. I've made progress on it. Although some features are unimplemented, I will put it up on Google Code, if anyone is interested in it, and I've made some progress so far. I hope to find some coders interested in developing this software too. I've got great plans for it. I just need to implement the rest of the features, but so far, I've gotten through some hurdles.
    Linux Advanced Guides and News!
    http://linuxinnovations.blogspot.com/

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

  6. #6
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    Re: Text to Speech

    I tried getting the Read out loud feature to work in Ubuntu and was completely unsuccessful . Orca works with every other app including firefox but for some reason it wont work with Adobe acrobat 9 (or any other gnome pdf readers i tried ).And there seems to be very few tutorials on the subject .

  7. #7
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    Re: Text to Speech

    There is a little application called pdf2txt which when run on a pdf will put its written contents into a text file which in turn can then be very easily read with any TTS program or orca.
    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/

  8. #8
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    Re: Text to Speech

    For anybody interested in seeing an open source application similar to TextAloud and 2nd Speech Center (Windows apps) further developed, I could use some help with this project. So far, it has just been me working on it. I am trying to understand how espeak and mbrola work together, though if easier or better, I would develop this program to use festival or flite. I do not see many command line options for those apps and sence my program runs espeak with arguments gathered from the gui, I don't see the others as an option. My application is working. So far it is able to take any text highlighted and copied, and if what is highlighted is text and is different, the text is read by espeak with the default voice for horrible default espeak voice, so I am trying to understand better how espeak and mbrola work together to get some better sounding voices for this application to use. If anyones interested in seeing this project grow, please contribute whether you know how to program in Java or not, you can still contribute by trying the application and helping me to figure out how different features are used through the command line, so they can be put into the application or by packaging it as debs.

    Edit: This app allows anything that can be copied as text to the clipboard to automatically be read to you whether the text is in Firefox, pdfs, email, etc.
    Last edited by go_beep_yourself; March 18th, 2010 at 10:26 AM.
    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

    Thanks for the info Joann. I think KTTSD (along with KTTSMGR and KSAYIT) are exactly what I'm looking for... but I can't figure out for the life of me how to install KTTSD or Festival or its voices. What am I missing?

  10. #10
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    Re: Text to Speech

    Robotman,

    Lets see the easiest way to check is to see what software you have installed. So, if you open synaptic package manager, and do a quick search for "speech" a whole bunch of neat stuff should appear off to the upper left hand corner with a description in the lower left portion of the window. If you scroll through the list, at around the letter K you should see kmouth, ksayit, and kttsd. Make sure these have all been checked. Also, at around the letter F there should be festival too, so make sure it is installed as well.

    The search results should list a bunch of goodies, including other speech synthesis software which will produce other voices. You may find these useful ... "eflite", "espeak", "flite". (Commercial software is also available to provide even more voices).

    After apply the changes and installing the software you should be able to open KTTSD, by going to Applications->Accesbility->kttsmgr. First K you should see kmouth, ksayit, and kttsd. Make sure these have all been checked. Also, at around the letter F there should be festival too, so make sure it is installed as well.

    Hope that this helps
    - Joann

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