Linux has a few TTS text to speech options but the best one is a simple solution. Instead of installing software and dependencies which need to be maintained and tweaked, I simple chose to add TTS to Firefox.

Here is the best TTS plugin for Firefox

My main browser is Firefox and in order get TTS, I have installed Read Aloud which is a text to speech voice reader. It can be added with a simple click and yes, this plugin is available for Chrome as well.

If you want to text TTS then go to this URL to install the plugin: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/read-aloud/

How to use Read Aloud

Once the plugin is added to the web browser, a new icon will show at the top right corner of the browser UI. The icon looks like a little loudspeaker and when clicked, it will read out loud any text that is highlighted. The best part is that Read Aloud sounds really nice. I have previously used TTS on my iMac and am happy to say that Read Aloud is very usable.

Linux TTS Text to Speech Sound Quality

I first came across speech synthesis in 1999. Back then I worked for IBM and Via Voice got a lot of attention. We all had to train on it and I was impressed on how well it worked. English is my second language but Via Voice managed just fine. I remember that the converted audio files did not sound convincing. Let’s keep in mind that TTS is complex and one should not assume that it will replace human announcers anytime soon. This is not the intent of the software.

What TTS does well is aid impaired internet users who prefer to listen to text instead of reading it. Computer geeks will prefer the robotic angle of software-generated voices. TTS definitely comes in handy and I will use it to augment tutorials and similar work.

If you putting off moving to Linux because text to speed is holding you back then the wait is over. Thanks to Hai Phan who created this fantastic plugin, TTS is now a reality and I am impressed with how well it works.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your questions and suggestions on Linux audio and text to speech questions. Enjoy!

2 Comments

  1. As at September of 2020, this lack of a decent standardized TTS solution for Linux is more frustrating than ever. The above mentioned surely is quite convenient but not entirely free after a time. While I am not in opposition to customers buying the products after a trial, it begs the question that Linux needs a consolidating amalgamation of TTS related repos to formalize a convenient native speech synthesizer.
    Espeak TTS as well as the paid Celesphstral voices are what I could find. Others try to use Microsoft Speech sdk 11 and Zira or run Nuance’s Naturally speaking in Wine. What do you recommend?

  2. Update after some further research, Festival as a speech engine using voices either from mbrola or festvox seem to be the preferred TTS solution as referenced in the wiki page (-https://www.wikihow.com/Convert-Text-to-Speech-on-Linux) herein while Julius seems to be the current gen Foss speech recognition equivalent.

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