AsTeRICS Grid – Installation of TTS synthesised voices in the Android O.S.
AsTeRICS Grid is a cross-platform communicator, so it works on the basis of a web browser, which offers the advantage of storing all data on the device you are using (computer, tablet or smartphone).
When talking about the text-to-speech functionality necessary to listen to the voice of the cells and the cumulative phrase, it is necessary to clarify that AsTeRICS Grid uses the synthesised voice settings of the device on which it is running in priority mode.
In fact, our recommendation is to use the native voices installed on the device itself, as these allow offline operation (without an Internet connection) and do not cause delays in the speech and in the programme itself.
As an alternative solution, the AsTeRICS Grid itself always offers ResponsiveVoice.org voices in the voice list as an alternative. These always appear after the native voices, which are prioritised in the list.
These ResponsiveVoice.org voices work only with an Internet connection, and often, if the connection is not smooth, it causes delays in listening to the voice message and even delays in the operation of the programme itself.
Therefore, the priority should be to install native synthesised voices in the desired language on Android OS devices, either by using one of the free alternatives available or by purchasing a paid alternative.
Below, we explain how to download and install free or commercial TTS voices, configure them on Android, and finally get them up and running in AsTeRICS Grid.
Downloading and installation of synthesised voices (TTS)
Most Android OS devices do not have text-to-speech engines installed and configured by default. Therefore, this is one of the first actions to perform when we are going to use AsTeRICS Grid on the device.
Given the different Android versions out there, we recommend that you go into the Settings section of your device and use the magnifying glass to search and enter your preferred Engine or Text to pronounce. Both options can be found in the General Administration section.
Among the text-to-speech engines available, we will distinguish between free and commercial ones.
- Samsung TTS: if you have a Samsung tablet model, it offers free quality voices in several languages (Spanish, English, French, French, Italian,…), both male and female. These voices are downloaded from the Galaxy Store. They do not work with other tablet brands.
- Google Voice Services: This application is free and can be downloaded from Google Play. It covers a large number of languages and gender variants, although the voice quality is not optimal compared to other alternatives.
- AhoTTS: is a free application developed by Aholab, which is part of the UPV/EHU and offers free voices in Spanish and Basque. It can be downloaded from Google Play.
As an alternative to the free voices mentioned above, commercial voices can be purchased which, at a fairly reasonable cost, offer quality voices in different languages, genres and even accents.
By following this link you can see on Google Play some of the applications that offer paid voices. Once the applications are installed, within the application, it allows the purchase of the desired individual voice. They usually allow you to listen to a small sample of the voices they offer in order to be able to assess your subsequent purchase.
Once the voices have been downloaded and installed, we are going to explain how to configure them in the text-to-speech options that Android has in its configuration.
Configuring Synthesised Voices (Text-to-Speech Engines) in Android
The text-to-speech engines are configured in the Android settings. Depending on our Tablet model, the Android version and the personalisation layer included in it, the menus may differ.
As we can see in the following screenshots, the steps to take in the case of a Samsung device are:
1- Click on Configuration
2- Go to “General Administration”.
3- Click on “Language and text input“.
4- Look for the option “Text to speech” and click on it.
5- Click on the option “Preferred engine”.
6- Select one of the ones that appear in the list from among the ones you have installed.
7- If we click on the roulette that appears under “Preferred engine” we can configure the selected text-to-speech engine.
8- We select the options we are interested in from those offered by each text-to-speech engine (mainly language and genre).