Say Command on Lion OS Text To Speech

Say Command on Mac was probably already featured in Leopard, but because I rarely used it, I have noticed it.

However with the Lion OS, you can activate it in many ways. First, you can activate it via terminal app, but I personally don’t choose this.

Because I am not that good in Terminal thingy, plus you can activate this say command very easily using your system preferences.

Steps to activate this say command on Lion

1. Go to System Preferences, you can do it by clicking the app shortcut icon on the dock.

system preference

System Preference Shortcut

2. Then look for “Speech” icon which is located next to “Time Machine” icon.

say command lion


3. Click “Text to Speech” tab, and tick on “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”.

say command lion

Text To Speech

To test it, you can select some text and it will read it for you. You can also choose the female or male voices on the drop down menu.

By default, there are 3 females and males US voices you can choose, but to read another language, in my case, German, this speakers can’t.

I have tried to select German texts, and they read it in English grammar, so it just caused headache to listen to :-)

In my case, to be able to read German texts, I had to customize it, by going back to the Text to Speech tab, and choosing “Customize” then looking for a specific native language speaker, such as German in my case, and or other countries accordingly depends on your native language.

say command lion os

"Customize" to add other voices

This will prompt you to install multilingual supports to be able to read your native language, and I was finally able to install “Steffi” voice to read German text with German accent and correct grammar, I have to say, it was impressive, both quality and accent.

If you don’t install it, you won’t be able to read other languages.

To uninstall or delete the voice you have installed

This tutorial uses “Steffi” voice which I just downloaded and installed, to remove it, I did following:

1. Go to “Finder”, and on the top menu, click on “Go” and in the drop down menu, select “Computer” and a dialog box will pop up.

remove voice speech to text

Finder, Go, Computer

2. In this window, navigate to Macintosh HD/System/Library/Speech/Voices/Steffi.SpeechVoice

Note: replace the Steffi with other names you have installed, example, Daniel.SpeechVoice etc.

Delete this “Steffi.SpeechVoice” folder, and it will be removed from your System Preferences.

remove voice speech to text

The folder path, click to enlarge

The quality of the speakers of this Say Command on Lion

Actually I am not a fan of this feature, but I have known the similar feature in Acrobat reader, which is also often used in YouTube videos, where the video creators don’t want to record their voices.

But activating this feature is so much fun to try and listening many accents that you can choose.

The quality of the speaker on Lion OS is much better than the one in Acrobat.

Their voices are also more clear and more understandable than many other read to me feature which I have ever listened to.

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