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Thread: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

  1. #1
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    Dec 2008
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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
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Calgary
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    109
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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
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    UK
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    75
    Distro
    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
    Join Date
    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
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Caloocan city, Philippine
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    85
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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
    Oct 2008
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    UK
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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
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    wrong planet
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    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    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. Contact me if you are interested.

    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.
    Linux Advanced Guides and News!
    http://linuxinnovations.blogspot.com/

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North West England
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    2,674
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Text-to-speech in Ubuntu

    Hi, there is an app that can take copied / pasted text and read it out. It's in the repositories. I did a brief introduction onto this forum, in case you missed it I have it over here --> http://forum.phillw.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=33

    If you are working on anything that is similar, please get in touch with the author, his details on are that thread. He's interested in doing more and, like many, would be grateful of others who are like minded.

    It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, if any developers of assistive want a 'developers chat area' I'd be more than happy to set one up for you on my baby forum.

    If you know of an area for them, please let me know & I'll put a link onto my baby forum.

    Regards,

    Phill.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    wrong planet
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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.

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