Showing posts with label text to speech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label text to speech. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Make Your Linux Read Papers For You

Fed up of reading text files and PDF papers? Is you eye power degrading day by day and can't hold even few minutes on screen? Don't worry, you can easily make your linux system speak and read all those papers for you.

There are several text to speech tools available for linux but in this post, I will be using festival, a Text-to-speech (TTS) tool written in C++. Also, Ubuntu and its derivation are most likely to include by default espeak, a multi-lingual software speech synthesizer.

For ubuntu and debian based system, type the following to install festival:
samar@samar-Techgaun:~$ sudo apt-get install festival

Moreover, you can also install a pidgin plugin that uses festival:

samar@samar-Techgaun:~$ sudo apt-get install pidgin-festival

For now, you just need to install festival. Once you have installed festival, you can make it read text files for you. If you go through the online manual of festival, it says:
"Festival works in two fundamental modes, command mode and text-to-speech mode (tts-mode). In command mode, information (in files or through standard input) is treated as commands and is interpreted by a Scheme interpreter. In tts-mode, information (in files or through standard input) is treated as text to be rendered as speech. The default mode is command mode, though this may change in later versions."

To read a text file, you can use the command below:

samar@samar-Techgaun:~$ festival --tts mypaper.txt

The festival will start in text-to-speech (tts) mode and will read your text files for you. But now, we want to read PDF files and if you try to read PDF files directly (festival --tts paper.pdf), festival is most likely to speak the cryptic terms since it actually reads the content of PDF including its header (You know PDF is different than simple text file). So we will use a pdftotext command to convert our pdf file and then pipe the output to the festival so that festival reads the PDF files for us. You can use the syntax as below to read PDF files.

samar@samar-Techgaun:~$ pdftotext paper.pdf - | festival --tts

If you want to skip all those table of contents and prefaces or if you are in the middle of PDF, you can use the switches of pdftotext to change the starting and ending pages. For example, if I wish to read page 10 - 14 of a PDF, I would do:

samar@samar-Techgaun:~$ pdftotext -f 10 -l 14 paper.pdf - | festival --tts

Enjoy learning. I hope this post helps you ;)