Text to speech for Linux

Default featured post

Today, while I was reading a huge PDF when I was exhausted, suddenly something has lighten up into my mind. I thought about having an application to read PDF for me when I am tired and I just listen to it. Therefore, immediately, I searched on the internet and I totally surprised with the search results. Honestly, I have never supposed that such application could ever exist. With searching on the internet I found tunes of applications for TTS (Text to speech). Some of them have online version to test, some of them available in just demo version. Many of TTS applications also are available for Android and iOS platforms. I tried to find TTS application for Linux. I found and installed Festival and Gespeaker but unfortunately none of them has good quality. In other word, the voice of reader is totally unnatural and in some extends it is understandable. I searched for Windows version TTS applications and I found many but they are licensed and are not free. Furthermore, I was not able to run demo version of some of them with Wine.

Finally, after searching a lot, I found this topic of Askubuntu.com and finally got the answer. I copy the answer exactly here. All credit of below paragraph goes back to iheartubuntu, user of Askubuntu.com.

I believe I’ve found the best TTS software for free using a Google Chrome extension called “SpeakIt”. This only works in the Chrome browser for me on Ubuntu. It doesnt work with Chromium for some reason. SpeakIt comes with two female voices which both sound very realistic compared to everything else out there. There are at least four more male & female voices listed s Chrome extensions if you search the Chrome Web Store using “TTS” as your query.


For use on a website. you highlight the text you want to be read and either right click and “SpeakIt” or click the SpeakIt icon docked on the Chrome top bar.

Firefox users also have two options. Within Firefox addons, do a search for TTS and you should find “Click Speak” and also “Text to Voice”. The voices are not as good as the Chrome SpeakIt voices, but are definitely usable.

The SpeakIt extension uses iSpeech technology and for a price of $20 a year, the site can convert text to MP3 audio files. You can input text, URLs, RSS feeds, as well as documents such as TXT, DOC, and PDF and output to MP3. You can make podcast, embed audio, etc. Here is a link…


Now, just only one problem still remains. I wanted a TTS application to read any text formats files (especially PDF file) for me not just HTML file. Obviously, for plan text and doc files I just need to copy entire document to a text editor and save it with .HTML extension. For PDF file the procedure is little different but it is not complicated. There is an application which is called pdftohtml for converting PDF files to HTML. For installing pdftohtml type following command in Terminal,

$ sudo apt-get install poppler-utils

See below example for converting,

$ pdftohtml Mybook.pdf HTMLversion.html

The performance of the application is acceptable, although it has issue in converting some PDFs for unknown reason and gives messy outcome that even I cannot read it what about the TSS application!

Keep in your mind that finally you should upload HTML file somewhere on the internet like your web blog or something like that to make Google Chrome capable to read it. Otherwise, if you open the file with just Chrome it does not work.