mimic is a small and efficient text to speech engine that works well on modern GNU/Linux systems. It can speak English in several different artificially voices. It is not very useful for other languages. mimic is free software licensed under a mix of BSD licenses, Apache licenses and public domain. It is a pure command-line tool, there is no GUI.
mimic is/was developed by the artificial intelligence company Mycroft. They now refer to it as mimic1. This is the version you will find in your distributions repositories. They are also developing a completely different program called mimic2. This could mean that mimic(1) will be abandoned.
Mimic is available as a package called
mimic on most GNU/Linux distributions. Compiling is strait-forward if you are familiar with the standard
./configure && make process. The source can be acquired from GitHub.
mimic -t "Hello world" makes mimic say "Hello world".
-f filename.txt makes it read from a text file.
-o output.wav will make mimic write the voice output to a standard .wav formatted audio file.
This is what
mimic -t 'Hello, this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system' -o mimic-test.wav ; oggenc mimic-test.wav sounds like:
Switching Between Voices
The mimic package comes with several built-in voices. There is also support for voice-files. One voice-file comes pre-installed in
/usr/share/mimic/voices. There are no additional voice files available on the mimic website at mimic.mycroft.ai/ but there are some files flitevox files in a
voices/ folder that are not included in the package distributions ship on the GitHub page at https://github.com/MycroftAI/mimic1.
The included internal voices in mimic can be used by passing the
The available built-in internal voices can be listed with
mimic -lv This will, when using mimic v1.3.0, output:
Voices available: ap slt slt_hts kal awb kal16 rms awb_time
slt_hts voices are female voices. Here is a test of
slt made using:
mimic -t 'Hello, this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system' -voice slt -o mimic-slt-test.wav
- ab, awb, kal and rms are male voices. awb is probably British. kal is probably a drunk. rms does not sound anything like Richard Stallman.
- slt and slt_hts are female voices.
- awb_time and kal16 seem to be broken, using them does not produce any understandable outout
mimic --help to see all the available command-line options.
See Text to Speech synthesis software for a indepth comparison of free text to speech software.
Mycroft, the company who maintains Mimic, has a Mimic-specific homepage at mimic.mycroft.ai.
The source code for Mimic 1, the version Linux distributions ship, is at github.com/MycroftAI/mimic1.