Is there a high quality and free Text to Speech system for Dutch that runs on GNU/Linux?

03 Dec

Dear Text to Speech and open source experts:

For a toy / hobby project (non-commercial), I’m trying to find a suitable Text to Speech system for Dutch that I can run on GNU/Linux. So far, the situation does not look very promising. I’ve tried eSpeak, but using it for Dutch is not as good as I expect. I made my experiment using a file “computer.txt” that has the following contents:

Een computer is een apparaat waarmee gegevens volgens formele procedures zoals algoritmen kunnen worden verwerkt. Meestal wordt met het woord computer een elektronisch, digitaal apparaat bedoeld, maar er bestaan ook mechanische en analoge computers.

$ espeak -vnl+7 -s 170 -f computer.txt

The resulting voice output:

My eSpeak version is:

$ espeak --version
 eSpeak text-to-speech: 1.48.03  04.Mar.14  Data at: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/espeak-data

I’ve tried tweaking various parameters such as speed, pitch, voice but could not get something that is much better.

The advantages of eSpeak: It doesn’t need any Internet connection when running. The disadvantage, as can be heard above is low quality for Dutch.

When I say eSpeak has low quality for Dutch, I compare it to Google Translate’s output. You can try it for yourself at (by clicking on the loudspeaker icon on the bottom left). Or you can listen my recording of it below:

The advantages of Google Translate’s Text to Speech system: Higher quality for Dutch, but the disadvantage is that it requires an Internet connection and the API is probably paid.

Maybe there’s something better, some solution that I can install and run on GNU/Linux, control / drive programmatically (e.g. via Python, Bash, etc.) and does not charge me a lot of money (because I’m not building a commercial product). Any ideas?

Notes: For the curious reader, to record the audio from espeak and Google Translate using Audacity, I used Pulse Audio Volume control. Following resources helped me to set it up:


Posted by on December 3, 2015 in Linguistics, Linux


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Is there a high quality and free Text to Speech system for Dutch that runs on GNU/Linux?

  1. mememe

    December 5, 2015 at 18:45

    Yes there is one.

  2. Emre Sevinç

    December 6, 2015 at 13:23

    A few more systems: Acapela TTS for Linux (thanks to Dr. Kim Luyckx), NeXTeNS (thanks to Prof. Walter Daelemans), and MaryTTS (even though it does not support Dutch out-of-the-box, it seems worth to investigate) that I learned thanks to Ahmet A. Akın.


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