[Sugar-devel] Sugar-devel Digest, Vol 6, Issue 7
jim.simmons at walgreens.com
Wed Apr 1 18:24:16 EDT 2009
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.
Since I've labored in these vineyards for awhile, my opinion might be
worth something. I think your proposal is fine as written. I just
wonder if you can deliver what you're promising, and how you'd go about it.
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,
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 22:00:02 +0530
From: chirag jain <chiragjain1989 at gmail.com>
Subject: [Sugar-devel] GSoC proposal: Speech Synnthesis
To: sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
<e116096a0904010930l23312712ha5fd4128efe7dd99 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Modified the proposal a lot.
want some feedback
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