speech systhesis voices with orca/espeak

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Thu Jan 18 05:53:46 UTC 2018

You can try Festival or Flite, as they both have some fairly good 
voices. But Festival needs to be started in server mode in order for it 
to work with Orca, and I'm not entirely sure that speech-dispatcher 
knows how to find the better quality Flite voices. The best way to start 
Festival in server mode would be to write a systemd service that starts, 
monitors and stops it. It should be placed in /etc/systemd/system and 
should be executable. Run the following commands to make the right file.
sudo touch /etc/systemd/system/festival.service
sudo chmod 664 /etc/systemd/system/festival.service
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/festival.service
and then paste the following content into the file.

Description=Festival speech synthesis server

Now run
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable --now festival
Now you need voices. Look at something like
apt-cache search festival
There should be a fairly sizeable number of voices. I believe the Arctic 
HTS voices are probably the best. Install any voices you can find
sudo apt-get install <voicename>
where voicename is the name to the left of your search results. The 
documentation I'm reading says you will need to reboot after installing 
voices, but you should only need to restart the Festival service
sudo systemctl restart festival
and then toggle Orca off and on by pressing alt+super+s twice.

I found the documentation for this at
but it's designed for Red Hat systems. I have adapted the instructions 
so that they should work on the latest Debian Stretch or 
Testing/Unstable systems. I don't have a Debian system to test the 
modified instructions, so your mileage may vary.

Flite will be easier to get working, but last time I looked at it, I 
could only see the horrible default voice. Try
sudo apt-get install flite
You may need to uncomment its module in either 
/etc/speech-dispatcher/speechd-conf or 
~/.config/speech-dispatcher/speechd.conf, or maybe just run
from a terminal and follow the prompts, which should allow you to select 
either Festival or Flite. Toggle Orca and then select the synthesizer 
and voice you want from the voice tab in your Orca preferences. If all 
goes well, you should be able to hear a different voice from the default 
Imetumwa kutoka mti wangu mrefu

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