Text To Speech is a very common feature these days, and it’s actually starting to get used more and more as well, with services like Siri and S Voice on some of the biggest phones out there. A very common problem about TTS however is the voice, which doesn’t sound quite real. While it will still be a while until voice recognition and TTS can match human interaction 100%, you can actually do quite a bit to improve your current TTS voice.
Replacing the TTS engine on your Android device is a simple as going to the Google Play store, finding a new engine, and installing it. You will then be asked to activate it in settings – just like when you install a keyboard – and likely also set it as default to make it work. You may also have to manually download a language along with the main engine, and set that language in the settings, but eventually you should be set to go. Once installed the new TTS engine should be selectable in apps that allow you to configure the TTS engine, which a lot of apps do. There’s also a «force my setting» option that might help with stubborn apps – to be honest I’ve never had to use it.
As far as which TTS engine you should try goes, there are some big ones. SVOX has a ton of voices in Google Play, but they’re expensive at $5 each, and with a trial system that I for one never got to work. My favorite though is INOVA’s offerings, which are currently in beta and as such, free. If you’ve read the articles lately about my dealings with Tasker’s Say feature then the voice you heard coming out of my phone is IVONA’s Amy voice, a female British English TTS voice. Some peculiar pronunciations aside, it’s by far the most impressive approximation to a real person I’ve heard. Until Timmy from Rules of Engagement is available as a TTS voice, Amy will probably stay as my voice.