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Is it even possible to slow it down?

Certain languages seem to speak quite fast and I wanted to know if it was possible, and if so, how?

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on 19/11/12, I think the french speech speed is quite normal. – Midhat Nov 19 '12 at 9:59

There's no way to control talking speed in the Translate site (and you're right, it does speak pretty fast in French), nor is there any provision for it in the Google Translate API.

(For the record, this is true for 10/11/11, so please, don't deduct points from this 2 years from now if/when Google starts providing speech controls :))

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If Google Translate deems your browser to be capable of playing audio via HTML5 sufficiently, it will use it. Otherwise, it will use Flash to play the audio.

I wrote the following JavaScript which will switch between audio playback rates, should your browser be capable of playing Google's audio files using HTML5:

(function (rate) {
    var p = Audio.prototype.__proto__.__proto__;

    if (!('bkPlay' in window)) {
        bkPlay = p.play;

    p.play = function () {
        this.playbackRate = rate;

You can execute this via your browser's console or create a bookmarklet by prepending the code with javascript: and entering it as the bookmark's URL. The number on the last line is the rate that will be forced upon the audio when the page attempts to play it.

Note that I have only tested this in Chrome, so I am unsure whether it'll work in other browsers. Also, the slowest and fastest rates at which my browser still plays the audio are 0.5 and 4.0 respectively.

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One CAN slow Google Translate down by inserting spaces and full stops;

eg " Your . . . French . . . . class . . . . was . . . . wonderful. . . . . . "

will slow the speech down somewhat.


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In newer versions of Google Translate, speech seems to be slower if you press and hold down the "Speak" button for a few seconds before releasing rather than just clicking it.

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