New Activity Proposal -- "Your voice on XO"

Joshua Minor j at
Mon Apr 7 00:09:07 EDT 2008

I haven't tried to make a new espeak voice either.  It would be great  
if there were more female and child voices in addition to the existing  
male voices in espeak.  I suggest you give it a try.  If it takes a  
lot of ram or cpu time or just a lot of steps for the user, that may  
limit the possibilities - or just shape the focus of the project.

Your proposal for making voices easily probably appeals to at least  
three groups.  First to educators and developers trying to add new  
voices for a particular language or country.  The second group, is  
obviously kids who might like to learn about voice synthesis or just  
have the thrill of customizing the laptop to have a new voice.  The  
final one is the disabled community who would like to use the XO as a  
tool to help folks communicate more easily.

I know that the Solomon Island OLPC deployment is interested in  
creating voices for the local languages there.  ( 
  )  You might want to contact them to see what sort of effort they  
have made and what parts they found difficult.

I built Speak because there was no gui for espeak on the XO.  It was a  
pretty easy thing to make and seems to fill the gap nicely.  The more  
people put effort into the underlying synthesis engine and more ways  
to access it (like the excellent speechd effort) the more powerful the  
system will become.  Adding more voices will be a great way to expand  
the appeal of the system.


On Apr 5, 2008, at 8:15 AM, Alex Escalona wrote:

> HI Josh,
> Thank you for voicing your support! It's great to hear that there is  
> general interest out there for this type of activity.
> I have to confess that I have not tried the existing process for  
> adding a new voice. However, I am aware of the efforts required to  
> undergo such an undertaking, and hope to make such endeavors more  
> accessible for XO users and their communities.
> Can you share any experiences or knowledge that you might have on  
> this subject? I understand that you were involved in creating and  
> maintaining the "Speak" activity on the XO. As well, I have noted  
> some interest in this proposal on the devel list (e.g., 
> . And of course, I know that Hemant Goyal has done considerable work  
> in forwarding Speechd on the XO as a speech synthesis interface, as  
> well as advancing efforts in TTS in general.
> Best,
> Alex
> On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 10:07 PM, Joshua Minor <j at> wrote:
> This is an awesome idea.  A couple of people have contacted me to  
> ask how to add new voices to Speak.  It would be great to make this  
> process easier.
> Have you actually tried the existing process for adding a voice?
> -josh
> On Apr 4, 2008, at 5:58 PM, Alex Escalona wrote:
>> Hi Everyone,
>> I just created a page on the OLPC wiki detailing my activity  
>> proposal--"Your voice on XO". I hope to develop this activity via  
>> GSoC 2008. A brief abstract of my proposal follows.
>> This is a proposal for the creation of a new activity for the XO  
>> that would advance localization efforts in TTS development, as well  
>> as promote the involvement of the local community overall. "Your  
>> voice on XO" would consist of a long-term, community-based project  
>> to build and/or further development of a synthetic voice for the  
>> language used locally (for more on synthetic-voice building, see 
>> , and
>> This activity would entail integrating the voice-building  
>> capabilities of eSpeak, or perhaps Festival, into Sugar on the XO,  
>> as well as working to facilitate synthetic-voice building in a  
>> classroom, or community setting (for an overall view of how the  
>> voice building process might proceed, see 
>> .
>> Your feedback and comments are much appreciated!
>> Best,
>> Alex Escalona
>> ("vergueishon" on OLPC wiki, IRC)
>> _______________________________________________
>> Devel mailing list
>> Devel at

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