sábado, 20 de agosto de 2011

The Friendly Black Screen that Talks (Espeak)

Today, I had great fun with my little nephew thanks to Espeak, which I had installed from the Mandriva repositories long ago in an attempt to make my computer talk again. In Mandriva 2009, the task was performed by KTTS. However, as Mandriva 2010 kept KTTS despite KDE renamed the text-to-speech service (now it's called Jovie), my computer became voiceless. Or so I thought.

Being a Linux newbie, my knowledge of command line amounts to almost zero. Sometimes I unconsciously assume that if the GUI does not work, the program is broken. How silly of me! KTTS handled everything for me so, when I installed Espeak, I simply found no way to make my computer talk again via GUI.

Today, I launched Konsole and typed: espeak --help

Then, I saw all the commands to make my computer start talking again. If you type espeak, all the sentences that you type would be pronounced by the default voice (English).

However, there is a great assortment of languages to choose from. When I typed espeak -v fr [enter], my computer started speaking every line I wrote in French. If you want Spanish from Latin America, you type espeak -v es-la [enter].

So, my little nephew was delighted listening to a computer talk every absurd sentence he asked me to write. He also tried some, but he doesn't know how to write yet. The good thing is that he promised me to study a lot to learn the alphabet soon because he wants to make the computer talk ;-)

For the reference, the voices are stored in /usr/share/espeak-data/voices. The executable file is espeak and it's found at /usr/bin.

Now I only need to find a way to add a Japanese voice...

2 comentarios:

  1. So, it was with the terminal that espeak worked?? That explains why I couldn't get it to work...I'll give it another shot then. Thanks for the info!

  2. try Gespeaker, it is the GUI for espeak.
    On my machine (Ubuntu 9.04) as long as the GUI is running all txt messages my friends send to me in Pidgin messenger are spoken :)