Orca and eSpeak

Jonathan Duddington jsd at clara.co.uk
Fri Sep 22 11:40:08 BST 2006

I've been asked whether Orca can use the eSpeak software synthesizer.

I believe that Gnome Speech can be set up to use Speech Dispatcher, and
Speech Dispatcher can use eSpeak.  So in theory the answer seems to be
"yes".  Has anyone done this, and does it work in practice?  Does
responsiveness suffer as a result of the additional intermediary?

Or would it be better to write a Gnome Speech driver for eSpeak?  The
drivers seem fairly small but I don't understand the environment in
which they are written (concepts such as bonobo, oaf, corba etc). But
if someone wants to write a driver then I'll be happy to assist.

eSpeak is a compact open source software speech synthesizer:

Some users on the SpeakUp mailing list say they prefer it over Festival
for the purpose of screen reading.  It speaks British English and
several other languages, although some of these are just initial draft
implementations that will need advice and assistance from native
speakers to improve.

eSpeak version 1.11 is in the Edgy Universe repository.  I'm hoping
someone will submit the latest version, 1.14, for Edgy if it's not too

Unfortunately Edgy Knot 3 is unusable on my computer, so I can't try
these things myself.  I can't get internet access - "network is
unavailable" (I use a router gateway on ethernet), and everything is
painfully slow (eg. dragging windows or scrolling in gedit).  Ubuntu
Dapper 6.06 does not have these problems.

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