Thursday, March 4, 2010

Espeak Klatt voices in Ubuntu Lucid

The next version of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) ships with espeak version 1.43. This new release of espeak has the klatt voices that's everyone is talking about.

In December 2009 I first read about the Klatt voices in a post on NVDA mailing list. After some initial testing, I filed a Ubuntu bug report(LP: #510182) requesting to include this version into Ubuntu. Eddie Hung build Espeak packages for testing on Ubuntu Lucid development release.

Meanwhile Luke Yelavich mentioned that we can't include unstable software releases and I wrote to espeak developer Jonathan Duddington to make a stable release just in time before the lucid code freeze. Luke and Jonathan managed resolve the technical problems, thanks to them you can now try out the espeak voice variants. Give it a try!

espeak -v 'en-us+klatt2' "This is espeak test"

Storm dargon responded to my email request to provide the steps to enable the klatt2 voice for US english. Here is how you enable them to use with orca screen reader.

cd /usr/share/espeak-data/voices/en/ cp en-us en-us.bak sudo gedit en-us #move to the end of the file press enter and type: klatt 2 #save the file and exit. Espeak will change to klatt 2 automatically.

Someone once commented "espeak voice sounds like a 1960's science fiction robot" and I think its true. Right now we should work to make them better, Interested Anyone?


  1. 1960s science fiction robot... klaat2... I see what you did there ;)

  2. James, I don't know what you mean by that?

  3. Oh! There was a famous 1951 movie called The Day the Earth Stood Still. Klaatu was the alien protagonist, accompanied by his robot Gort. This movie is also the origin of the occasionally repeated phrase "Klaatu barada nikto," a failsafe command to the robot which has taken on a life of its own in geek culture. For instance, try about:robots in Firefox 3 and look at the title bar.

  4. Ah ! James Thanks for reminding me of that :)


You can leave a comment here using your Google account, OpenID or as an anonymous user.

Popular Posts