Shell script for Google TTS on Plasma desktop

My wife has extreme dry eye condition, so she want to avoid looking at the screen as much as possible. She asked me for a solution for Text-to-Speech on linux desktop.

Basically her requirement is to press a key and read out what she selects. I check jovie, but that’s somehow discontinued and the only speech-dispatcher backend available on my distro is espeak, whose voice quality is poor comparing to any modern solution on the desktop.

So I decided to check if there’s any available solution on internet and see if there’s a solution that using Google translate’s TTS service.

So far I found a script from

Which I adjusted a little for my usecase:



say() { local IFS=+;/usr/bin/mplayer -really-quiet -noconsolecontrols "$*&tl=en"; }
say $TEXT

I added xsel for reading string from primary selection, which is exactly what she’s asking for. And then I use plasma’s convenient custom global shortcut to bind a key to this script. Then you can enjoy the google tts with a single key press.

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2 Responses to Shell script for Google TTS on Plasma desktop

  1. Enkeli says:
    Firefox 53.0 Android 5.0.2

    Nice solution.

  2. Bob says:
    Firefox 55.0 Android 6.0

    Check gTTS, a Python script to do the same thing

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