How to install Festival text-to-speech on Ubuntu

There is a very limited set of quality text-to-speech software for Linux. One of the commonly recommended solutions is Festival. As is common with open source software, you will need to Google your way through a bunch of old mailing list archives before you find the correct instructions to install it on your system.

Since I have spend a good deal of my time getting Festival to work properly on my rather ordinary Linux Mint setup, here are instructions to install it.

If you only use sudo apt-get install festival, you will get the following error:

WARNING
No default voice found in ("/usr/share/festival/voices/")
either no voices unpacked or voice-path is wrong
Scheme interpreter will work, but there is no voice to speak with.
WARNING

-=-=-=-=-=- EST Error -=-=-=-=-=-
{FND} Feature Token_Method not defined

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

This is because the festival package does not include something as trivial as a default voice. This means you need to install the default voice Festival looks for separately, as it is found in the festvox-kallpc16k package:

sudo apt-get install festival festvox-kallpc16k

VoilĂ ! You should now be able to use Festival properly.

4 comments on “How to install Festival text-to-speech on Ubuntu

  1. Hi,

    I just tested it on Ubuntu 12.04.
    To my surprise I didn’t have to download a voice.

    I could type ‘Festival’ and from there I could type
    (SayText “Good morning, welcome to Festival”)
    and I heard a voice reading this.

    Best,
    Dirk

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