Google TTS reads foreign texts with an unreasonably accurate accent

Casual mischief with Google’s Text-To-Speech System

Google has been working on a Text-To-Speech API. Several languages, as well as some accents, are available. This page presents cases where a voice trained to read one language is applied to a text in another, or a voice trained on one accent reading a text originally spoken in another.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

J. Robert Oppenheimer recalling the atomic bomb test of 16 July 1945. Hindi. (link)

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

US Constitution

The Constitutions of the United States, 21 June 1788. German, Arabic. (link)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s remarks during a visit to the border wall, San Diego, CA, 19 September, 2019. Spanish. (link)

And I want to thank all of the people. General Semonite from the Army Corps of Engineers — we’re working very closely with them. I want to thank Kevin and all of your staff —


THE PRESIDENT: — because what they’ve done is beyond.

And I wanted to show you some of the details of the wall. You can see — you can see a pretty good view. This is going to be close to 500 miles by the time we finish. Those are the areas that are most important.

After we’re completed 5- — that should be done pretty close to next year. Over — it’ll be over 400 miles. And we think we can get it close to 500 miles by the end of next year, depending on certain terrain conditions. But we’re doing all of the most important areas. We have a lot of natural barriers, like mountains and streams and rivers and — some pretty vicious and violent rivers, actually. But it’s — it’s an amazing project.

And I think what I’d like you to do is if you could explain the interior of these pipes. The wall is 30 feet high. We also have 18-foot wall. We have a combination of 30 feet and 18 [feet], depending on the area, depending on the — on the importance.

Tijuana is right over here. There are thousands of people over there that had been trying to get in. Tremendous cooperation from Mexico. And the President of Mexico has been fantastic. All of Mexico has been fantastic. As you know, right now they have 27,000 soldiers. So, in addition to the wall, we have the soldiers.

Donald Trump’s inaguration speech, Washington DC, 20 January 2017. Mandarin, Spanish. (link)

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;

Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;

We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own;

And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s speech for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, 31 January 2020. Polish. (link)

Tonight we are leaving the European Union

For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come

And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss

And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end

I understand all those feelings, and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward

And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, mentioning the military industrial complex, 17 January 1961. Japanese. (link)

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction… This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s speech “Ich bin ein Berliner”, West Berlin, 26 June 1963. Russian. (link)

I am proud to come to this city as the guest of your distinguished Mayor, who has symbolized throughout the world the fighting spirit of West Berlin. And I am proud – And I am proud to visit the Federal Republic with your distinguished Chancellor who for so many years has committed Germany to democracy and freedom and progress, and to come here in the company of my fellow American, General Clay, who – who has been in this city during its great moments of crisis and will come again if ever needed. Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’

Elizabeth II, Queen of England

The Queen of England’s speech to both Houses of Parliament, 14 October 2019. Russian. (link)

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons. My Government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October. My Government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation. My Ministers will work to implement new regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, seizing the opportunities that arise from leaving the European Union. An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system. My Government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain. The bill will include measures that reinforce this commitment. Steps will be taken to provide certainty, stability and new opportunities for the financial services and legal sectors.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill’s speech: “We shall fight on the beaches” to the House of Commons on 4 June 1940. German.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher’s last speech in the House of Commons, 22 November 1990. Hindi.

All levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. But what the honorable member is saying is that he would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich. That way you will never create the wealth for better social services as we have. And what a policy. Yes. He would rather have the poor poorer provided the rich were less rich. That is the Liberal policy. Yes it came out. He didn’t intend it to but it did.

Margaret Thatcher’s interview for Woman’s Own, 23 September 1987. French. (link)

I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!’ ‘I am homeless, the Government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and [end p29] there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.

Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen

Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen de 1789. Arabic. (link)

L’Assemblée nationale reconnaît et déclare, en présence et sous les auspices de l’Être suprême, les droits suivants de l’homme et du citoyen.

Article 1er

Les hommes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux en droits. Les distinctions sociales ne peuvent être fondées que sur l’utilité commune.

Article 2

Le but de toute association politique est la conservation des droits naturels et imprescriptibles de l’homme. Ces droits sont la liberté, la propriété, la sûreté, et la résistance à l’oppression.

Article 3

Le principe de toute souveraineté réside essentiellement dans la nation. Nul corps, nul individu ne peut exercer d’autorité qui n’en émane expressément.

Article 4

La liberté consiste à pouvoir faire tout ce qui ne nuit pas à autrui : ainsi, l’exercice des droits naturels de chaque homme n’a de bornes que celles qui assurent aux autres membres de la société la jouissance de ces mêmes droits. Ces bornes ne peuvent être déterminées que par la loi.

Article 5

La loi n’a le droit de défendre que les actions nuisibles à la société. Tout ce qui n’est pas défendu par la loi ne peut être empêché, et nul ne peut être contraint à faire ce qu’elle n’ordonne pas.

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle’s speech “Je vous ai compris” at Alger, 4 June 1958. Arabic, German. (link)

« Je vous ai compris ! Je sais ce qu’il s’est passé ici. Je vois ce que vous avez voulu faire. Je vois que la route que vous avez ouverte en Algérie, c’est celle de la rénovation et de la fraternité. Je dis la rénovation à tous égards. Mais très justement vous avez voulu que celle-ci commence par le commencement, c’est-à-dire par nos institutions, et c’est pourquoi me voilà. Et je dis la fraternité parce que vous offrez ce spectacle magnifique d’hommes qui, d’un bout à l’autre, quelles que soient leurs communautés, communient dans la même ardeur et se tiennent par la main.

Karl Marks & Friedrich Engels

Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848. Mandarin.

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries? Two things result from this fact: I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power. II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.

Note for Arabic, Chinese and Japanese: the beautiful uncanniness of these readings recall the remarkable work of Peter Ablinger, Deus Cantando, replicating the harmonics of the human voice on a mechanically operated piano. When only listening to the sound, it’s by and large incomprehensible. However, if listened to with subtitles, the text is unmistakably recognised!

Bonus: accents

The effect of accents, while not being technically as remarkable, can be equally scrumptious in the meaning they convey.

Elizabeth II, Queen of England

The Queen of England’s speech to both Houses of Parliament, 14 October 2019. Australian English. (link)

[Same speech as above]

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle’s speech after the liberation of Paris, 25 August 1944. Canadian French. (link).

Pourquoi voulez-vous que nous dissimulions l’émotion qui nous étreint tous, hommes et femmes, qui sommes ici, chez nous, dans Paris debout pour se libérer et qui a su le faire de ses mains.

Non ! nous ne dissimulerons pas cette émotion profonde et sacrée. Il y a là des minutes qui dépassent chacune de nos pauvres vies.

Paris ! Paris outragé ! Paris brisé ! Paris martyrisé ! mais Paris libéré ! libéré par lui-même, libéré par son peuple avec le concours des armées de la France, avec l’appui et le concours de la France tout entière, de la France qui se bat, de la seule France, de la vraie France, de la France éternelle.

Eh bien ! puisque l’ennemi qui tenait Paris a capitulé dans nos mains, la France rentre à Paris, chez elle. Elle y rentre sanglante, mais bien résolue. Elle y rentre, éclairée par l’immense leçon, mais plus certaine que jamais, de ses devoirs et de ses droits.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, mentioning the military industrial complex, 17 January 1961, French translation. Canadian French. (link)

This track is an exception: a Canadian French voice reads a French translation of the same speech.

Jusqu’au plus récent conflit mondial, les États-Unis n’avaient pas d’industrie d’armement. Les fabricants américains de socs de charrues pouvaient, avec du temps et sur commande, forger des épées. Mais désormais, nous ne pouvons plus risquer l’improvisation dans l’urgence en ce qui concerne notre défense nationale. Nous avons été obligés de créer une industrie d’armement permanente de grande échelle. De plus, trois millions et demi d’hommes et de femmes sont directement impliqués dans la défense en tant qu’institution. Nous dépensons chaque année, rien que pour la sécurité militaire, une somme supérieure au revenu net de la totalité des sociétés US. Cette conjonction d’une immense institution militaire et d’une grande industrie de l’armement est nouvelle dans l’expérience américaine. Son influence totale, économique, politique, spirituelle même, est ressentie dans chaque ville, dans chaque Parlement d’Etat, dans chaque bureau du Gouvernement fédéral. Nous reconnaissons le besoin impératif de ce développement. Mais nous ne devons pas manquer de comprendre ses graves implications. Notre labeur, nos ressources, nos gagne-pain… tous sont impliqués ; ainsi en va-t-il de la structure même de notre société. Dans les assemblées du gouvernement, nous devons donc nous garder de toute influence injustifiée, qu’elle ait ou non été sollicitée, exercée par le complexe militaro-industriel. Le risque potentiel d’une désastreuse ascension d’un pouvoir illégitime existe et persistera. Nous ne devons jamais laisser le poids de cette combinaison mettre en danger nos libertés et nos processus démocratiques. Nous ne devrions jamais rien prendre pour argent comptant. Seule une communauté de citoyens prompts à la réaction et bien informés pourra imposer un véritable entrelacement de l’énorme machinerie industrielle et militaire de la défense avec nos méthodes et nos buts pacifiques, de telle sorte que sécurité et liberté puissent prospérer ensemble.


I hope that Google will keep adding more languages, as well as accents, as this is just a tiny sample of what’s possible. Great potential for artistry!