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Speech to Text in Linux: A How to Get Guide

written by: KateG•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/17/2009

If you want to be able to talk to your Linux, and have it understand you then try this software.

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    Ah, being able to talk to your computer and actually have it understand you. It has been a dream of both the authors of space based science fiction authors and legitimate experts in the field of computer science have dreamed of for decades. It is a difficult dream to realize. As it turns out computers are not that good at recognizing human speech. It is happening though. Apple users have speech recognition now. Windows users have speech recognition now. Does that mean that Linux users should be left out of the party? Not at all. Linux users can get in on the fun. Let us talk about how you, as a Linux user can get in on it. This is a two parter. Just stick with it and you will get through the process of installing the software.

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    What Software Do I Need to Get?

    As was mentioned, you will need to get your hands on two pieces of software. The first is called Sphinx-2. Sphinx-2 is a speech recognition engine. The second piece of software you need is called Festival. Festival is a speech to text recognition engine.

    Installing Sphinx-2 is relatively easy to do. It has binary set up for most major flavors of Linux. That means all you will have to do is find the right one, download it and deal with the questions that the wizard asks you. Nice and easy. So simple that you could even let a Windows user do it for you without fear.

    Next up on your listing is installing Festival. That is a bit more complex. You need to get Perlbox if you do not have it already installed. You will need to install Festival only after you put in Perlbox. Your installation specifics will depend on your flavor of Linux. Also be aware that you need to run Perlbox before you open Festival. The command is perlbox-voice.

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    There you have it. One Linux system that can take your speech and turn it into text. Now you can dictate your next fictional masterpiece or just your next memo. Either way, you have speech to text, and unlike Windows and Mac users, you didn't have to pay for the software. The hardware however is another matter. You will need to get a USB microphone, or a headset. If you have one for VOIP then you are already set.