SuttaCentral

My YouTube channel has sutra central audio

Dear Friends,

I have a software that reads out texts. Sutra Central texts (many) are converted by me to the audio format for listening so it can reinforce message deeply in the mind. Search “Biren Patel” on YouTube to access my channel. Not lying. It helps me to hear audio, hoping it would help you too.

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Hi Biren, I have just searched for your channel and found many Biren Patels in there.
May I suggest you share the link to it here?
Also, have you already checked Sutta Central Voice?

It is a very cool and useful tool and if you have any questions about it contact either @karl_lew or @sabbamitta

:anjal:

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Hi Biren! Glad to hear from you. As Gabriel_L mentions, Voice speaks the suttas for those of us who, like you, prefer to study by listening. Perhaps we can work together to help our listeners.

:pray:

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Thank you. I did not know about sutta central voice. When website is up and running, I will listen.

The YouTube link to 1 video is: https://youtu.be/MqH5a1xfhCM

Then you have to go to channel and explore more videos or to playlist named Buddha Suttas.

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Hi Biren, so nice to encounter more Sutta listening fans! :speaking_head: :ear: :heart:

Last night the SuttaCentral main page has been down for a while, and that also had an impact on Voice. Now both are up again, and Karl is building in some safety wall that in the future will prevent Voice from going down when SuttaCentral is down. If one is dying the other one at least can stay alive.

If you encounter any problems with Voice, please contact us to let us know. You can call either Karl or me, or just @devs-voice. Thanks!

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Biren, thanks for sharing your YouTube channel. I really like the captions that allow viewers to see what is spoken. Anagarika Sabbamitta and I would like to do the same for Voice audio. Is it possible to generate video of more text shown at once? I’ve never generated automatic videos, and I’m wondering at the possibilities of showing entire passages as they are read.

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Hi Karl, those videos on YouTube just have short titles. But the texts for those videos are saved by me in Google docs, sorted out by numbers. I read along the text on Google docs while listening to videos on YouTube. The maximum file size I can upload via tunestotube.com on YouTube is 50 MB, about 50 minutes of MP3 audio with a single picture of Buddha.

Thanks. Biren

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That’s a good meditation length. :smiley:

  • What is preferable about Google Docs vs. simply using SuttaCentral? :thinking:
  • What other languages might interest you for listening to the suttas?

Thanks for the link to tunestotube (that’s new to me). :pray:

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Oh that tool looks very interesting. Thanks for pointing to it!

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I keep sutra central page open on my tablet. I also have sutra central app downloaded on all my devices like tablets and phone. This is like winning a lottery for me. As a back up, I save it to Google docs.

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Ah! I understand this is your backup in case SuttaCentral goes down? Is that the thought behind it? Or can you also make these files available for offline use, when you are not connected to the internet?

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True. As a back up to sutra central. Free space by Google. I can even take notes.

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:white_check_mark:

Ah, I see.

We are thinking about how we could enable something similar for Voice in the future. That’s why I ask all these questions. It is important for us to understand how different people are using audio sources. Thanks for sharing about your sutta study practice.

Our thoughts so far have no clear shape yet. But what they include are things like

  • offline capability
  • a way to make notes about which suttas one is currently studying, or just favorite ones
  • a way to make personal annotations
  • to make all that as sustainable as possible, independent from those who develop it now

Discussions like this are helpful to make clearer ideas emerge from what is flickering around in our minds. Thank you! :pray:

Ah! And I have one more question: Which tool do you use for text to speech?

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All those ideas are great!

The voice that I use in my video is similar to that used by Alexa of Amazon.

I had this text to speech software for about 5 years Now. If you like to try, I can send you a copy of the CD by mail. One CD has the text to speech software, and another CD has different voices like male, female and US, UK accents. I wouldn’t mind paying for shipping.

I read the text on a separate device while listening on the YouTube video to reinforce it better.

Hearing is very important to make it a part of life as per Buddha.

Thanks

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The software is natural reader. https://www.naturalreaders.com

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Ah! I don’t use voice assistants on my devices, otherwise I should perhaps have recognized her. :smiley:

This is very kind of you, thank you so much! But I think there is no need. I asked this question more in order to understand how you are making your videos.

Thanks for this link, I will check it out. I see they have quite a few European voices, but no Asian ones. So far we haven’t, for example, found any Sinhalese TTS voice anywhere.

Voice is working with TTS voices by Amazon Web Services’s service called Polly. There are voices in different languages, and currently we are using four different English voices, three German ones, and one for speaking Pali which originally has been trained for Hindi by Amazon.

AWS allows to edit pronunciation for the voices to a certain degree, so we have already done a lot of work to customize especially Aditi, the Pali voice, and meanwhile she is able to speak pretty reasonable Pali. And also the other language voices have received some pronunciation editing, and more is still to be done.

Voice can use both cached pieces of sound and sound that is generated on demand from Polly. If someone uses Voice to listen to a Sutta that has already been listened to, Voice will use the cached sounds. If someone listens to a new Sutta, or a translator or a pronunciation editor has made some changes to a particular segment in a Sutta, Voice has to request this sound from Polly.

In this way we try to minimize costs by caching sounds so they don’t need to be requested from Polly each time, and at the same time Voice can adapt to changes made to the texts—which is happening quite regularly for translations; the Pali root text however is pretty much considered as settled.

Yes, to me too listening brings the Suttas to a deeper level of my mind. I also used to read along while listening—in Voice you can do both at the same time on the same device. But recently I also like to listen while walking, so I can’t read at the same time. This is again a different experience!

Yes, and for those with a week vision it is the only way to access the Suttas.

Therefore, thank you again for sharing your videos and making them available to everybody!

Karl and I believe in the squirrel strategy: Hide your nuts in many different places, and if you forget one, or something happens there, there is always something else that remains! So you are creating one repository of Dhamma nuts, Voice has another one, and SuttaCentral again another one!

Let us all be Dhamma squirrels!

:chipmunk: :dharmawheel:

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+1 to these ideas! I have a Google sheet where I track the Suttas I’ve read and notes about them…would be amazing to have a bookmarking and annotation function in SuttaCentral. I have not yet used voice.

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It’s definitely different from SuttaCentral.

Thanks for your feedback about our ideas. With no feedback from (potential) users we are just walking around a bit in the mist of our own thoughts; well, we do what we think is worthwhile to do, but it’s nicer to know it’s good for others too!

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I have been intending to try Audio to give feedback there. Will share once I do. So far I’ve found I pay closest attention when reading to control the pace. I speed read audible books on 2x because they aren’t nearly as dense with meaning as Buddha’s Words are :joy:

One idea is creating a survey like in google or surveymonkey and posting it on discourse or even on the main page. There are probably lots of ideas out there…

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You mean a survey of all applications that are developed from SuttaCentral’s material? If you’d like to compile such a survey that would be a good idea! I don’t know how to best communicate this, but maybe create a little website that has all the information?

If you look into SuttaCentral’s text repository bilara-data you can see that it has been forked 10 times. One of them is Voice, and I don’t know what the other ones are.

But I guess now we are deviating a bit from the OP … :grimacing:

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