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eSpeak 1.44 for Linux improves mbrola support

posted 31 Oct 2010, 19:39 by James Holgate   [ updated 31 Oct 2010, 22:55 ]
Using eSpeak with mbrola voices used to be a little difficult to set up. If you wanted to use mbrola voices, you needed to set up a command line or script send phoneme data from espeak to mbrola via a pipe.

The newest version of espeak allows you to specify an mbrola voice directly in the command line. This means you don't have to create a script to use mbrola voices.

To speak aloud

  • Open a terminal.
  • Make sure espeak 1.44 or newer is installed. To check the version: espeak --help | grep "text-to-speech"
  • Install mbrola voices. In Ubuntu or Debian Linux, you have several options. For example,
    • You can search for mbrola using the Synaptic package manager
    • Open a terminal and type sudo apt-get install mbrola mbrola-en1 mbrola-fr4 mbrola-us1
  • To use the new voices with the Read Text extension, 
    • Select some text in OpenOffice.org.
    • Show the Read Selection dialog with Tools → Add-Ons → Read Selection...
    • Select Read the Selection with another program
    • Browse to the path to the Espeak application - /usr/bin/espeak
      • For UK English, in the command box, enter -v mb-en1 -f "(TMP)" 
      • For US English, in the command box, enter -v mb-us1 -f "(TMP)"
      • For French, in the command box, enter -v mb-fr4 -f "(TMP)" 
    • Right - Click OK to check the voice.
  • Click OK

Save to a wave sound file

  • Open a terminal.
  • Make sure espeak 1.44 or newer is installed. To check the version: espeak --help | grep "text-to-speech"
  • Install mbrola voices. In Ubuntu or Debian Linux, you have several options. For example,
    • You can search for mbrola using the Synaptic package manager
    • Open a terminal and type sudo apt-get install mbrola mbrola-en1 mbrola-fr4 mbrola-us1
  • To use the new voices with the Read Text extension,
    • Select some text in OpenOffice.org.
    • Show the Read Selection dialog with Tools - Add-Ons - Read Selection...
    • Select Read the Selection with another program
    • Browse to the path to the Espeak application - /usr/bin/espeak
      • For UK English, in the command box, enter -v mb-en1 -f "(TMP)" -w "(HOME)ooo_espeak_(NOW).wav"
      • For US English, in the command box, enter -v mb-us1 -f "(TMP)" -w "(HOME)ooo_espeak_(NOW).wav"
      • For French, in the command box, enter -v mb-fr4 -f "(TMP)" -w "(HOME)ooo_espeak_(NOW).wav"
    • Click OK
  • The sound file will be saved in your documents directory, so you need to open it with a media player to listen.
Not all mbrola voices are supported yet in eSpeak. Check the eSpeak web site for more information.

Scripts to create MP3 sound file

Linux - make an audio file for a podcast or your portable player. Use mbrola, eSpeak and lame to create an mp3 player compatible audio file with Linux. These shell scripts are for UK English, US English and French, but you can adapt them to other languages. Includes instructions. Requires espeak 1.44, lame, mbrola and mbrola voices.

Link...

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