I want to be able to read out aloud PDFs in Ubuntu. I currently use the Okular PDF reader. After installing Jovie, I was able to read out aloud my PDFs in Okular. However, I find the the speech quality of the current synthesis engine (espeech) to be terrible, and nowhere close to the quality of text to speech engine on my android phone.

I installed that synthesis engine of android (libttspico-utils). Now I'm stuck at trying to make Jovie aware of libttspico-utils. The Jovie handbook (section A.2) says "It (Jovie) also works with any synthesis engine that can be run from a command in a Konsole.", but doesn't explain how to do this -- which is my question here. I know that libttspico-utils can be invoked over commandline.


2 Answers 2


After some investigations, I found a way for that using command line. If Jovie is working correctly with espeak and libttspico-utils is installed.

on konsole type

~$ spd-conf

and answer the default answer for each question. This will create a conf file in ~/.config/speech-dispatcher/speechd.conf

edit this file and uncomment the line containing "pico-generic"

#AddModule "ibmtts"       "sd_ibmtts"    "ibmtts.conf"
#AddModule "cicero"        "sd_cicero"     "cicero.conf"
 AddModule "pico-generic" "sd_generic"     "pico-generic.conf"

 # DO NOT REMOVE the following line unless you have
 # a specific reason -- this is the fallback output module
 # that is only used when no other modules are in use
 #AddModule "dummy"         "sd_dummy"      ""

Then edit the file ~/.kde/share/config/kttsdrc, and change the outputModule of your talker from espeak to pico-generic

Sam=<voice name="Sam" lang="en" outputModule="pico-generic" voiceName="" voiceType="1"><prosody volume="0" rate="0" pitch="0" /></voice>

Check that speech-dispatcher is in user mode, by checking the file /etc/defaults/speech-dispatcher it should say:


To be sure, restart the computer.

The first time I used TTS, I got an DBUS error message, but after it is working fine.

Hope it will help.

  • This works for me although the last file is /etc/default/speech-dispatcher rather then /etc/defaults/speech-dispatcher (for me at least) Feb 17, 2018 at 9:39

User Base says:

Now you can continue on and create a Talker. Select the tab Talker from the Text-to-Speech Control Module and click Add.

Select which language and synthesizer to use. You will need to have a voice installed to use Festival, you can configure this afterwards by selecting the Edit button. Jovie should now be setup and you can test it by selecting Edit and then Test.

  • 1
    Sorry, I know that. The problem is that the pico synthesizer does not show up in that list. espeak is the only option that shows up. Jan 19, 2016 at 2:48

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