Hi Thomas, I've not really used espeak, but many of the points you mention I seem to recall being reported by others, but were largely fixed in the latest version (don't know about the auditory icons). Possibly ensure you are running the latest version (maybe even a dev/svn version?). I've found that the IBM ViaVoice is by far the absolute best software TTS for emacspeak. Its what Raman uses and works extremely well. The barrier was always the price. However, oralux and some other sites now offer the TTS runtime at a fantastically low price. I recently purchased a copy from oralux and it was so cheap I can't even remember the final cost - less than $20 Australian, which would make it even less than $20US (the Aus $ is about 67 US cents). For that price, you get all the emacspeak features and good responsive speech that maintains phrasing at high speech rates. I've found that while festival is a good TTS, especially for experimental work, it just isn't responsive enough for my needs. Flite is OK, but isn't fully integrated with emacspeak. Espeak looks very promising, but really isn't of the same class as ViaVoice. As I work with computers everyday, almost all of it programming, I invest in four things, a very good chair, a top quality keyboard, a good sound system connected to the computer and good quality TTS engine. I skimp on the monitor and to some extent even the desktop/laptop (though most of my work is on Linux servers and the desktop is really just a terminal). I'm not sure where I left the mouse. I also lack time to play around with the TTS. I need something reliable and which I can get up and running on a new system quickly and easily. ViaVoice meets this requirement perfectly and the cost represents less than a quarter of what I earn per hour when everything is working and I'm being productive. Even as a student, the cost is is minimal and would represent less than the cost for a paperback and a lot less than a text book. Of course, you may have philosophical objections to using commercial software. This is a perfectly reasonable position and shows ethical fortitude. However, the reality is simply that while there are good TTS engines out there and even ones showing great promise, such as espeak (which I believe also has a very supportive developer), the sad reality is there just isn't anything of the same standard in the open source/free software world. This may change, but I'm doubtful. For one thing, current research and development in TTS tends to focus on natural sounding realistic voices and the greatest successes towards this goal tend to use approaches that result in engines that don't preserve phrasing well when high speech rates are used. I simply couldn't survive or be competitive in the marketplace if I was forced to use a speech rate that was similar to the normal rate speaking. My ability to churn through text and documents very quickly actually gives me an edge that offsets weaknesses I have in other areas, such as udnerstanding or creating diagrams etc. My advice would be to spend the $20 t get the ViaVoice runtime, complete your comp sci and then maybe put some work into a better free/open source TTS. Once my family obligations and work demands begin to drop off, this is the sort of thing I hope to do to stop my brain atrifying in retirement, but until then, I need to pay the bills and try to contribute as time allows. Of course, with the current downturn, maybe that retirement will come sooner than I expect and I'll have lots of time to devote to all those pet projects I'd rather work on instead of the largely sole destroying and mind numbing finance, HR, and customer database systems that make up the bulk of how I pay the bills now. good luck, Tim -- -- firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- To unsubscribe from the emacspeak list or change your address on the emacspeak list send mail to "email@example.com" with a subject of "unsubscribe" or "help"
If you have questions about this archive or had problems using it, please send mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org No Soliciting!
Emacspeak List Archive | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | Pre 1998
Emacspeak Files | Emacspeak Blog | Search the archive