December 8, 2008

Installing Chinese voice synthesis in Windows

A frequently asked question on this blog is: how to install Chinese voice in Windows? Voice synthesis is a great enhancement to Pablo and Pingrid.

SOLUTION 1: Use free speech engine Ekho

Download the installer from http://sourceforge.net/projects/e-guidedog/files/latest/download
or go to Ekho's home page http://www.eguidedog.net/ekho.php (look for the paragraph: "here are some recommended versions".)
Download the file suited for your system and open it to install the package.

Then go to Windows Control Panel and click on the Speech icon. Change the Voice Selection from default to the newly installed one.
Click on the Audio Output button and check that the voice is directed to the correct audio driver or sound card.

SOLUTION 2: Use Microsoft Chinese voice

Quality is not as good as Ekho but is is free as well. Here are some step-by-step instructions, reposted from a comment by Benjamin Lim on this blog (thanks, Benjamin).

Follow the Lingoes link http://www.lingoes.net/en/translator/speech.htm
(Lingoes is a very good freeware translation tool).

At the Lingoes webpage look for the following paragraph:
Recommended Excellent TTS Engine
Microsoft Simplified Chinese Voice
PackageFile Size: 1.55 MB
Download: Mirror 1, Mirror 2

Download and it will appear as "Microsoft_TTS_51_chs.msi". Double click on the msi file once it is downloaded

Go to Windows Control Panel and click on the Speech icon. Change the Voice Selection from default to the newly installed one. In my case Microsoft Simplified Chinese. Then click on the Audio Output button and check that the voice is directed to the correct audio driver or sound card.

SOLUTION 3: Commercial voices

Other high-quality voices exist. As far as I know, all of them require buying.