[IAEP] [Bookreader] Text to Speech readers for XO
sayamindu at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 17:04:19 EST 2009
The Internet Archive has started to distribute books as DAISY
we should definitely take a look at. We might also consider leveraging
the GNOME accessibility framework to provide book-reading features for
Epubs and PDFs in Read - it may be tricky, but the end results would
be worth it.
On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 5:34 AM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> Bumping up this recent thread on the bookreader list about text-to-speech.
> Mike and Gregor, in case you haven't seen what's currently possible:
> I believe James S's Read Etexts uses speech-dispatcher to read selected
> text. Aleksey and others may have done further work with espeak... I've
> included some old threads from the Sugar list this past spring below.
> On Thu, Oct 29, Mike McCabe <mccabe at archive.org> wrote:
> I also think this is a great idea. I've worked with several
> text-to-speech readers recently, as part of my effort to make the
> Internet Archive books available to print disabled people.
> They're very useful, and I think that this mode of reading could be of
> use to a very broad range of users. I suspect we'll see more of it soon.
> I'm also curious to hear about specific experiences with
> linux-compatible free TTS, as we may be producing audio books with this
> to work with the new Library of Congress audio players.
> Best regards -
> ==  old note from James Simmons ==
> ( in repsponse to this speech-synthesis summer of code proposal:
> http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/speech-synthesis )
> Since you have been working with Aleksey Lim you probably know about
> text to speech with highlighting in Read Etexts. I wrote the original
> TTS code that used speech-dispatcher with some assistance from Hemant
> Goyal and the folks on the speech-dispatcher project. Aleksey
> refactored my code so it could work with either speech-dispatcher or his
> own gstreamer espeak plugin. Not only does his plugin need no
> configuration to work, it also does a LOT better in producing timely
> callbacks as it reads each word.
> As you point out in your proposal, highlighting the word as it is spoken
> is a big part of the benefit of what you're proposing. If all you
> wanted to do was capture some highlighted text in the clipboard and have
> it spoken in a voice you can configure in a control panel, that would be
> easy, even trivial. It's the highlighting that's difficult. When I
> added speech to Read Etexts I deliberately tried for the simplest
> approach that would get the job done. It reads only the current page.
> It always starts either at the first word on the page, or if speech has
> been paused, it resumes with the last word spoken. You can't choose the
> word to start on. The Activity itself receives the callbacks as each
> word is spoken and takes care of doing the highlight and scrolling the
> textarea so the highlighted word stays on the screen.
> If I had to write a facility that did what Read Etexts does outside of
> the Activity I wouldn't know how to do it. It seems to me that
> highlighting is best done by the Activity itself. I can't deny that it
> would be useful to have all this work done as you have described without
> the Activity knowing anything about it, but it doesn't seem feasible.
> You'd have to have something that could work with gtk textareas, the
> evince component Read uses, Abiword, and everything else that came along.
> Another thing you'd have to deal with is PDFs composed of scanned in
> book pages. There are a lot of these around (the Internet Archive is
> full of them) and somehow the kid trying to select words on a scanned in
> page would have to be clued in that these words are not selectable.
> I suppose you could make an Activity that grabbed whatever text was in
> the clipboard, displayed it in a textarea, and highlighted the words in
> that textarea as it spoke them. I'm pretty sure that wasn't what you
> had in mind.
> Splitting sentences into separate words will be a challenge. I just use
> spaces as delimiters and filter out characters like asterisks, vertical
> bars, etc. That works OK for English but not for other languages. If I
> wanted Read Etexts to do highlighting on the Bhagavad-Gita in the original
> Sanskrit it wouldn't work. Even in English I get tripped up by double
> hyphens (--). It would be nice if Gutenberg etexts put spaces around double
> hyphens but they don't.
> It looks like you've picked a challenging project, and I would love to be
> proven wrong about everything I've mentioned here. Good luck with this,
> James Simmons
> == 2: SynPhony and reading assistance ==
> On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Carol Farlow Lerche <cafl at msbit.com>
>> I'd like to call your attention again to SynPhony. We are close to a base
>> release (probably this week) of a 44,000 word English word database that has
>> a very rich array of information helpful to the teaching of English,
>> especially reading. A 10,000 word Spanish lexicon and 50000 word German one
>> will follow. Norbert Rennert who compiled these, would like very much to
>> work with other language experts to extend this effort to other languages.
>> Some highlights of the English lexicon: screened from the CMU Sphynx corpus
>> for accessibility to children, each word entry has frequency data from
>> analysis with respect to a large corpus of text merged in, phoneme breakdown
>> (used by reading curricula to decide the order in which words should be
>> introduced or deemed decodable), etymology, semantic domain
>> (categorization), IPA coding, syllabification and stress marking.
>> The second release will merge in many images, though we don't expect to
>> have a complete image-to-word mapping without a volunteer effort. We plan
>> to create an API and a way to define a curriculum sequence for word groups
>> once the basic database is released, to allow integration of the word bank
>> across all the activities that are literacy related, as well as create
>> more. We also hope to use the word bank to score texts for reading level
>> and assist in creation of simplified version of extant texts suitable for
>> use by emergent readers. Please read our design documents at the above
>> On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 2:02 AM, Tomeu Vizoso <tomeu at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
>>> Aleksey has started a very interesting new path:
>> Gregor Kervina wrote:
>> > Hi Sayamindu,
>> > thanks for quick reply!
>> > There is a lot of text to speech software out there - I use
>> > http://www.bytecool.com/coolspch.htm that you can try trial and download
>> > additional voices, just to get a feeling, but it is not free and not for
>> > linux. Many other programs are more complex and complicated and some of
>> > them use very complex voice engines that in my opinion doesn't sound
>> > very good. (I use Mary voice with cool speech)
>> > OK I spent some time to find all TTS software that is free for linux and
>> > here are some links:
>> > http://linux-sound.org/speech.html
>> > http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com/2006/01/festival-text-to-speech-synthesis.html
>> > http://larswiki.atrc.utoronto.ca/wiki/Software - see the links under
>> > Speech section
>> > http://www.xenocafe.com/tutorials/php/festival_text_to_speech/index.php
>> > http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-Text-to-Speech-on-Linux
>> > http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/
>> > http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/onlinedemo.html - listen to
>> > some demo voices
>> > http://sourceforge.net/projects/dhvani/ - this one not english
>> > http://sourceforge.net/projects/tts-cubed/
>> > http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/hephaestus.html - click the links in Speech
>> > Synthesis section
>> > http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/comp.speech/Section5/Synth/rsynth.html
>> > http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/122197 - two readers - plug-ins for
>> > firefox.
>> > I can not test them because I'm not a linux user. Maybe you can modify
>> > some of these software (probably Festival) for more user friendly
>> > reading and maybe program a specific button on XO keyboard that will
>> > automatically read the selected text no matter what program is used for
>> > opening the text.
>> > Judging from google search result for DTBooks, this technology is not
>> > spread at all. The other problem is that it uses somtimes recorded audio
>> > and the size of that is too large for XO... I think the most important
>> > is that TTS works with reader that will open 1.6M e-books from internet
>> > archive
>> > <http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/10/24/internet-archive-opens-1-6-million-e-books-to-olpc-laptops/>(are
>> > you in this team?).
>> > Also one important thing is to add cheap headphones with laptop so
>> > children could listen to reading without desturbing others and in the
>> > noisy environments ... another advantage of audio reading is much longer
>> > battery life because you can turn off LCD monitor and audio alone does
>> > not consume much energy.
>> > Let me know what you think.
>> > All the best,
>> > Gregor
>> > On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Sayamindu Dasgupta <sayamindu at gmail.com
>> > <mailto:sayamindu at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> > Hi Gregor,
>> > Thanks a lot for jumping in :-)
>> > On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Gregor Kervina
>> > <gregor.kervina at gmail.com <mailto:gregor.kervina at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> > > Dear Sayamindu Dasgupta, SJ Klein and other members of this list,
>> > >
>> > > I'm a student of electrical engineering from Europe and would
>> > like to share
>> > > with you my very positive experience with text to speech
>> > technology that can
>> > > in my opinion significantly increase the educational potential of
>> > XO if used
>> > > in the right way.
>> > >
>> > > For the past 12 years (since I was 15 years old) I'm daily
>> > learning from
>> > > e-books and internet using text to speech software. I know this
>> > software is
>> > > unpopular in developed world, many people don't even know that it
>> > exists. On
>> > > the other hand many people (including me) don't like reading long
>> > texts on
>> > > the LCD screens - that's why e-books are also not very popular.
>> > >
>> > > But unlike my friends I read 50+ e-books every ear and also daily
>> > news on
>> > > the internet - I just select the text, copy it, and CoolSpeech
>> > software
>> > > (using Mary voice) reads me all the text with speeds 300 to 500
>> > words per
>> > > minute. In this way I can browse other sites or look at photos or
>> > just lay
>> > > down and listen while my laptop is reading to me.
>> > > Other people don't understand what I'm reading because it is too
>> > fast for
>> > > them but it can be learned quickly with slower speeds at
>> > beginning.
>> > >
>> > > I think XO laptops should definitely have such software
>> > pre-installed and a
>> > > video introduction how to use it and what reading speeds can they
>> > expect
>> > > after some time of practicing.
>> > > It is also ideal for children with poor eye sight.
>> > >
>> > This sounds awesome. Could you let us know if the text to speech
>> > software you have in mind is free/opensource and if it works on
>> > Linux
>> > ?
>> > I am also looking at DTBooks specifications for digital talking
>> > books
>> > - do you know how useful/widespread this technology is ?
>> > Thanks,
>> > Sayamindu
>> > --
>> > Sayamindu Dasgupta
>> > [http://sayamindu.randomink.org/ramblings]
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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