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Text to Speech: use browser extension

(Chromebook, Chrome bowser)

I like to read my writing out loud as a final check for grammer and flow. It is even better when someone else reads it to me. But my spouse has better things to do with their time. :frowning: So I had to figure something else out.

There is a browser extension (Read Aloud) that reads highlighted text on the screen. Select the text, right click and pick “Read Aloud”. The voices aren’t great which is distracting at the beginning but I got used to it. There may be other extensions, I only looked at this one.

When I selected the entire chapter, it started reading. In a nice surprise, I would edit as I went and it kept reading. This allowed me to make quick fixes during the read through.

Anyone else doing text to speech as a regular part of their process? What tools are you using?

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I copied to word to get that feature. I use text to speech to look for those odd places where the punctuation doesn’t fit. But I don’t know if word allowed me to edit in process. I might have to check out Read Aloud so I can edit in dabble that way.

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I’ve been using the Read Content accessibility feature on my iPhone to listen to my father’s book on Dabble that he asked me to read for feedback. It worked out pretty good. I have to select each chapter and have it read to me and it always ends with the word count at the bottom of the screen, but it has worked out while I drive.

I like Natural Reader better than Read aloud. I don’t need to select text, and Read Aloud didn’t actually read all my highighted text. I tried both in Dabble.

Natural Reader I can just place my cursor and it starts reading to the end of the article or in my case dabble scene. No highlighting needed

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Natural Reader: Did you install the Windows version? I just installed the Chrome extension (but not the windows app - this is work computer) and I don’t see a UI to start reading. I’ll have to play with it on my chromebook tonight.

I have just the chrome extension installed.

I went to the puzzle piece in chrome clicked on natural reader and it pops up a pop up, then you can place your cursor and then click play

Apparently it’s just going to read the main body without a highlight . I tried it here and it started at the title of the thread and started reading.

Got Natural Reader working. I’ll have to compare them a bit. It kept reading a section as I moved around in Dabble. You have to close the reader bar at bottom of screen and restart if you want to change the chapter you are reading. One cool thing, it keeps reading, even if I click over to another window. Thanks for the tip!

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Linux user here. I configured a keyboard shortcut Superc to trigger the command:

/home/johnb/.bin/Readit.sh

The Readit.sh shell script contains:

#!/bin/bash
xsel | festival --tts --pipe

So I select the text I want to have read aloud, type Superc. The computer then reads the text out loud using the festival application. This works in any application and therefore works in Dabble.

None of my text is exposed to a remote third party using this solution.

Those of you using web browser extensions: what can you say about the privacy aspects of the solution you use? Does the extension send your text to a server?

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Privacy is a good question. If you use the voices built into your computer, Read Aloud does not send your words anywhere – it is all done on your computer. Don’t know about Natural Reader, I just posted on their support site and will report back if I get a response.

Also, kudos on your Linux-ninja skills. Skills I recognize, but don’t have the stomach to go after. Nice.

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A lot of writing tools are available for macOS. They would make my life a lot easier. But the prison that is the beautiful walled garden of Apple weights more and more heavily upon my head and shoulders. I crave freedom from Apple’s iron fist over my toolkit. That is what drives me to put in the time to learn Linux. It is absolutely exhilarating to be free to choose my own tools.

Indeed, in a total all-out fit of spit and rebellion I just finished installing Pop!_OS Linux on an old mid-2010 27-inch iMac. Apple has long ago declared it to be obsolete/Vintage/Legacy and no longer supports it. It’s still a capable and beautiful machine. It’s got a 2.8 GHz quad-core i5 CPU, 16 GB RAM and a 2 TB HDD. I was pleasantly surprised that Pop!_OS worked perfectly on that hardware. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, SD slot, USB ports and external storage, built-in microphone and webcam and the DVD-ROM slot all worked perfectly out of the box. Even the external monitor port worked to drive a second monitor plug-and-play. No special drivers, no fuss and no muss. Linux breathes life into old hardware long abandoned by the vendor. Refreshing it is!

There is an old quotation from one of the original Star Trek episodes that goes something like:

Freedom. It is a worship word.

Gene Roddenberry was most wise :smile:

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I cannot overstate the value of hearing your writing. Recently read some famous author (I think it was Hemmingway) talking about how his reading group would read each other’s work with as boring a voice as possible because the words should carry power. I find Read Aloud and Natural Reader useful. Also, Amazon Polly. With the latter, you can sign up for the free version and you’re allowed a bazillion characters or words before they’d ask you to pay. The selection of voices is not that shabby. I was searching for something close to Alexa’s voice. The online version can only handle about 3-4K characters, but you can download your complete manuscript into an audio file and listen to it as you would on Audible. Haven’t done this but will try.

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