Created initially as a Word Press plugin in 2008, Speeka also supports conversion of generic html pages to MP3.
Once a page is registered with the system, Speeka’s crawler regularly checks the page content for changes. Speeka’s capacity is reduced these days. Though able to serve existing users without issues, it’s just running from a single dedicated server now largely for closed project use only.
I’ve left this page up as there aren’t many places where you can compare the various open source speech engines.
There are now several commercial alternatives available which are simple to implement for web – eg Voice Forge, ReadSpeaker, BrowseAloud, ROK Talk and more than a few plugins for WordPress have emerged.
For developers The Web Speech API is being widely adopted by browsers and provides efficient text-to-speech with relative ease.
To quickly compare voices use the pre-rendered clips beneath the form.
Use the following to test the supported voices and parsing – text or html input is acceptable. Optional post processing through Sox can improve some of the harsher voices.
Input is annotated basically by default – headings are noted and acronyms and abbreviations are expanded. Additional elements such as forms, lists, addresses, tables and links are announced if the semantic annotation checkbox is ticked. Forms and tables are not reliably processed, their presence is noted to the listener but content is simply linearised.
The audio’s ID3 content is constructed from page title, the encoded text content and user name.
Pre-rendered Voices for Quick Comparison
|Young British Male – Mbrola EN1
|Old British Male – CSTR ‘rab’ diphone
|Scottish/UK Male – CMU ‘awb’ arctic hts
|Scottish/UK Male – Nitech ‘awb’ arctic hts
|Scottish/US Male – CSTR ‘ked’ diphone
|Thoughtful US Female – CMU ‘clb’ arctic cg
|Thoughtful US Female – Nitech ‘clb’ arctic hts
|Bored US Female – Mbrola US1
|Curious US Female – CMU ‘slt’ arctic cg
|Curious US Female – Nitech ‘slt’ arctic hts
|Bored US Male – Mbrola US2
|Smooth US Male – Mbrola US3
|Lazy US Male – CSTR ‘kal’ diphone
|Chilled US/Canadian Male – CMU ‘jmk’ arctic cg
|Chilled US/Canadian Male – Nitech ‘jmk’ arctic hts
|Narrator US Male – CMU ‘rms’ arctic cg
|Narrator US Male – Nitech ‘rms’ arctic hts
|Precise US Male – CMU ‘bdl’ arctic cg
|Precise US Male – Nitech ‘bdl’ arctic hts
|Lancashire Male – eSpeak en-n
|Standard English Male – eSpeak en
|RP Male – eSpeak en-rp
|Brummie Male – eSpeak en-wm
|West Indian Male – eSpeak en-wi
|Scottish Male – eSpeak en-sc
|US Male – eSpeak en-us
|Esperanto – eSpeak eo
|French – eSpeak fr
|German – eSpeak de
|Russian – eSpeak ru
|Polish – eSpeak pl
|Italian – eSpeak it
|Spanish – eSpeak es
|Latin – eSpeak la
|Commercial Voices for Contrast
|British Male – Cepstral Lawrence
|British Female – Cepstral Millie
|US Male – Cepstral David
|British Male 2 – Loquendo Simon
|British Female 2 – Loquendo Kate
|US Male 1 – Microsoft Sam
|US Male 2 – Microsoft Mike
|US Female – Microsoft Mary