Implementing Text-to-Speech with Different Languages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
8 mins read

Implementing Text-to-Speech with Different Languages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

One of the key aspects of implementing text-to-speech functionality is to ensure that it supports multiple languages. This is particularly important in today’s globalized world, where users from different regions and cultures access online content. By providing text-to-speech support for various languages, you can cater to a wider audience and enhance the user experience.

When it comes to implementing text-to-speech with different languages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, there are several approaches you can take. One popular method is to utilize the Web Speech API, which is a JavaScript API that provides speech recognition and synthesis capabilities.

The first step in implementing text-to-speech functionality is to check if the user’s browser supports the Web Speech API. This can be done using JavaScript by checking if the `SpeechSynthesisUtterance` object is available. If it is, then the browser supports the API and you can proceed with implementing the text-to-speech functionality.

Once you have confirmed that the browser supports the Web Speech API, you can start by creating an instance of the `SpeechSynthesisUtterance` object. This object represents a speech request and allows you to configure various properties such as the text to be spoken, the language, the pitch, and the rate of speech.

To specify the language for text-to-speech conversion, you can use the `lang` property of the `SpeechSynthesisUtterance` object. This property accepts a language code, such as “en-US” for English (United States) or “es-ES” for Spanish (Spain). By setting the appropriate language code, you can ensure that the text is spoken in the desired language.

It’s important to note that not all languages are supported by all browsers. Therefore, you should check the browser’s supported voices using the `speechSynthesis.getVoices()` method and filter the available voices based on the desired language. This way, you can provide a fallback option or notify the user if the selected language is not supported by their browser.

Once you have configured the `SpeechSynthesisUtterance` object with the desired text and language, you can use the `speechSynthesis.speak()` method to initiate the text-to-speech conversion. This will trigger the browser’s built-in speech synthesis engine to convert the text into spoken words.

In addition to specifying the language for text-to-speech conversion, you can also customize the speech output by adjusting the pitch and rate properties of the `SpeechSynthesisUtterance` object. The pitch property controls the pitch of the voice, allowing you to make it sound higher or lower. The rate property, on the other hand, determines the speed at which the text is spoken.

To enhance the user experience, you can provide a user interface (UI) for controlling the text-to-speech functionality. This can be done using HTML and CSS to create buttons or sliders for adjusting the speech properties, such as the language, pitch, and rate. By allowing users to customize the speech output, you can provide a more personalized experience.

In conclusion, implementing text-to-speech functionality with different languages using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a powerful way to make your content more accessible and user-friendly. By following the steps outlined in this blog post and utilizing the Web Speech API, you can provide text-to-speech support for a wide range of languages and enhance the overall user experience.

To make our text-to-speech generator more user-friendly, we can add some additional features to the HTML structure. One useful addition would be a volume control slider, allowing users to adjust the volume of the speech output according to their preferences. We can place the volume control slider next to the convert button, providing a seamless user experience. Here’s an updated example of the HTML structure:

<div id="text-to-voice">
  <input type="text" id="text-input" placeholder="Enter text">
  <select id="language-select">
    <option value="en-US">English (US)</option>
    <option value="es-ES">Spanish (Spain)</option>
    <option value="fr-FR">French (France)</option>
    <option value="de-DE">German (Germany)</option>
    <option value="ja-JP">Japanese (Japan)</option>
  </select>
  <button onclick="convertToSpeech()">Convert to Speech</button>
  <input type="range" id="volume-slider" min="0" max="100" value="50">
</div>

In this updated structure, we have added an input element with the type “range” to create a volume control slider. The “min” attribute sets the minimum value of the slider to 0, indicating the lowest volume, while the “max” attribute sets the maximum value to 100, representing the highest volume. The “value” attribute is set to 50 by default, providing a balanced volume level for the speech output.
By incorporating this volume control slider, users can easily adjust the volume of the speech output to suit their needs. Whether they prefer a softer or louder voice, they have the flexibility to customize the volume according to their preferences. This enhancement enhances the overall user experience and makes the text-to-speech generator more versatile.

Styling with CSS

Next, let’s add some basic CSS to style our text-to-speech generator. Feel free to customize the styles according to your preference:

#text-to-voice {
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: column;
  align-items: center;
  margin-top: 20px;
}
#text-input {
  width: 300px;
  height: 40px;
  font-size: 16px;
  padding: 5px;
  margin-bottom: 10px;
}
#language-select {
  width: 150px;
  height: 40px;
  font-size: 16px;
  margin-bottom: 10px;
}
button {
  width: 150px;
  height: 40px;
  font-size: 16px;
  background-color: #4CAF50;
  color: white;
  border: none;
  cursor: pointer;
}
button:hover {
  background-color: #45a049;
}

This CSS code adds some basic styling to our text-to-speech generator, making it visually appealing and user-friendly. The #text-to-voice selector applies a flexbox layout to the container, allowing the elements inside to be aligned vertically. The #text-input selector sets the width and height of the input field, as well as the font size and padding. The #language-select selector sets the width and height of the language selection dropdown, along with the font size. The button selector sets the width, height, font size, background color, and text color of the button used to trigger the text-to-speech conversion. The button:hover selector changes the background color of the button when the user hovers over it, providing visual feedback. These styles can be modified to suit the design requirements of your text-to-speech generator.

To enhance the user experience, we can add some additional features to our text-to-speech implementation. One useful feature is the ability to pause and resume the speech playback. We can achieve this by adding event listeners to the SpeechSynthesisUtterance object.
Inside the convertToSpeech function, we can add event listeners for the ‘start’, ‘pause’, and ‘resume’ events. These events will be triggered when the speech playback starts, pauses, and resumes, respectively.

function convertToSpeech() {
  if ('speechSynthesis' in window) {
    let text = document.getElementById('text-input').value;
    let language = document.getElementById('language-select').value;
    
    let speechRequest = new SpeechSynthesisUtterance();
    speechRequest.text = text;
    speechRequest.lang = language;
    
    speechRequest.addEventListener('start', function() {
      // Code to handle speech playback start
    });
    
    speechRequest.addEventListener('pause', function() {
      // Code to handle speech playback pause
    });
    
    speechRequest.addEventListener('resume', function() {
      // Code to handle speech playback resume
    });
    
    speechSynthesis.speak(speechRequest);
  } else {
    alert("Sorry, your browser does not support text-to-speech.");
  }
}

Inside the event listeners, we can add customized functionality based on the user’s interaction with the speech playback. For example, when the speech playback starts, we can highlight the corresponding text on the screen to provide visual feedback to the user. When the speech playback pauses, we can display a pause button and allow the user to resume the playback by clicking it. Similarly, when the speech playback resumes, we can hide the pause button.
To implement these features, we can add HTML elements and CSS styles to our HTML structure. For example, we can add a span element with a unique ID to each word in the text input field. Then, inside the event listeners, we can apply CSS styles to these span elements to highlight the corresponding words.

<input type="text" id="text-input" />
<button onclick="convertToSpeech()">Convert to Speech</button>
<script>
  function convertToSpeech() {
    if ('speechSynthesis' in window) {
      let text = document.getElementById('text-input').value;
      let language = document.getElementById('language-select').value;
      
      let speechRequest = new SpeechSynthesisUtterance();
      speechRequest.text = text;
      speechRequest.lang = language;
      
      speechRequest.addEventListener('start', function() {
        let words = text.split(' ');
        for (let i = 0; i < words.length; i++) {
          let wordSpan = document.getElementById('word-' + i);
          wordSpan.style.backgroundColor = 'yellow';
        }
      });
      
      speechRequest.addEventListener('pause', function() {
        let pauseButton = document.getElementById('pause-button');
        pauseButton.style.display = 'inline';
      });
      
      speechRequest.addEventListener('resume', function() {
        let pauseButton = document.getElementById('pause-button');
        pauseButton.style.display = 'none';
      });
      
      speechSynthesis.speak(speechRequest);
    } else {
      alert("Sorry, your browser does not support text-to-speech.");
    }
  }
</script>

With these additional features, the user will have more control over the speech playback and can easily pause and resume it as needed. This can be particularly useful in situations where the user wants to focus on a specific word or phrase or needs to take a break from listening to the speech.

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