For my game, I need text-to-speech. Since it's Android, I decided to settle for MP3s, since the range of words spoken is few.

For my prototype, I'm using Google Translate to generate the audio since it has awesome pronounciation across multiple languages.

But can I use it in production? What if I sell my game for $1 on the app store?

All I can find on SE is that the API may be LGPL, and that the licensing page mentions the API is only available for academic research -- nothing more. My usage is a bit different; I'm actually capturing the audio bits and using those instead.

I'm curious to know the license for this; I can't find anything with my Google-fu.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure what languages you are using, but Android has a built in TTS engine that has support for some languages: developer.android.com/resources/articles/tts.html You may have considered this but I thought I'd throw this in. \$\endgroup\$ – DMan Jan 13 '12 at 4:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMan thanks, I wasn't aware of that (I'm using libgdx). My question is generic though. \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Jan 13 '12 at 14:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ A bit of research on my end turns up nothing, either. There's some general terms of service stuff that seems to say "you can't use translate audio in anything commercial", but there's also "german beatboxing" videos using google translate audio. I'd suggest contacting google directly, or ask a question on the google translate usergroup. \$\endgroup\$ – thedaian Jan 13 '12 at 19:52

The only way to get answers for questions of specific use of a specific product is to consult the owner. You should write an email to google's legal team, or to the google tranlsate mailing list.

Anything other than this is pure speculation and is likely to cause you harm.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I did indeed post on their mailing list, but with no response. Would they really reply to my email to their legal team? \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Jan 24 '12 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since you are still looking for this, in the mean time, maybe consider some alternatives? I googled and found something like ispeech.org/developers/android which you can evaluate. I checked the terms and believe the mobile version is completely free. To be honest, I highly doubt Google Translate audio is free, whatnot with the fact that the API is now paid. \$\endgroup\$ – DMan Jan 25 '12 at 4:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ashes999 As mentioned earlier, you must consult the owner's legal team, or your own legal representative. As for google's legal team, it's their job to answer emails from people like you. Any other sources of information are speculative. These kinds of things vary hugely between jurisdictions. \$\endgroup\$ – blz Jan 25 '12 at 10:32

First, you are absolutely right to be concerned.

They haven't been clear about their license

Licensing fees for usage of proprietary voice recordings, even for just 5-10 wave files of prerecorded TTS can be inane. For example, AT&T's TTS (marketed by Wizzard) charges $5,500 (no, that isn't an extra zero) for any distribution or reuse of it's prerecorded voices.

This SO thread has several links to other open source voices, which you may want to use.

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Google does have a payment system in place to use "Google translate" in programming projects.

Look here: https://code.google.com/apis/console/b/0/

Create a project, then near the bottom it should say Google translate. it's about 20$ for 1M chars

Billing link: http://code.google.com/apis/language/translate/v2/pricing.html

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for finding this. This isn't what I want; I actually don't need their API, I just need to use the final MP3s. \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Jan 28 '12 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe there is a way to use the Google Translate API to record results into mp3 files? 20$ for 1M chars is not very expensive... \$\endgroup\$ – iMathieuB Oct 7 '12 at 2:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1 This has nothing to do with TTS audio \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Jan 7 '13 at 20:03

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