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Here is what i want to do:

  1. I want to put/run Orca as an idle process in background after booting into Ubuntu. (No problem there so far.)

  2. Now when I open up a text file or website in my [web]browser; I want to be able, to highlight text and use a keyboard-shortcut in order to invoke Orca process [see step 1], to read the selected text back to me.

My problem is, that Orca, once initialized as a running process permanently reads back everything, from mouse-over actions of buttons, to system related actions etc.. and orca-preferences doesn't come with options, to reduce and suppress this. Orca might not be the right application at all for this and a common speech-synthesis application might be even better.

  • If someone knows how to make it work that way, please help.
  • An alternative speech-synthesis "read back" option/function, like Apple offers in OS X would even be better, since there one can simply "selected text", that is invoked with Ctrl+# shortcut, or simply use say, or for text files say -f ~/input.txt -o ~/output.aiff-command to have text red back instantly!
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I found the answer here, in this comment, which does the trick in combination with festival:
(Although, these "free" speech synthesis are not even close to be as good as they ought to be!!)

wizo chocs says: March 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

create this script xtalk


xsel | festival –tts –pipe
  • set it executable chmod 755 xtalk
  • create a new custom keyboard shortcut, any key combo, i use ALT+X and the prog to run is your xtalk script
  • select the text u want read press ALT+X
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Would Festival do what you want?

You also have or wich is a plugin for firefox

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+1 for the links and thank you. The first link is interesting, yet i prefer the key-shortcut option to activate text to speech, rather than bash. – v2r Mar 13 '12 at 10:25

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