Garmin English Language Voices

CraigW's picture

Garmin On-The-Road GPS devices occasionally can receive additional voices or updates to voices. Many new Garmin devices come from the factory with only two voices: Samantha and Michelle. This FAQ will attempt to keep current with the latest English language voice versions. On any Garmin device, you must choose a voice that offers "Speaks street names" or "Speaks Real Directions" if you want street names to be voiced. These are known as TTS or Text-To-Speech voices. If choosing a non-TTS voice, rather than hearing instructions like "In point two miles, turn right on Elm Street," you will just hear "In point two miles, turn right." Most Garmin On-The-Road GPS devices offer both TTS and non-TTS voices. There are also some alternate fun, celebrity or different voices offered by Garmin or others available and these are all non-TTS voices.

Please note that each Garmin On-The-Road GPS device will use one of **three** [update late 2023: **four**] voice engines and the voice engine available on the device determines which voices and voice updates your device will receive. It's therefore best not to simply copy voice files from one device to another, but instead to use Garmin's software to offer the appropriate voices and voice updates and to install them. Note that each of three voice engines offer a voice named Jack, yet the filesizes and version numbers are different. These Jacks are not interchangeable.

The most basic voice engine is offered on devices like the nuvi 40 and 265. A better voice engine is offered on devices like the nuvi 750, 855 and 2460. The best voice engine can be identified by terms like Real Directions and Real Voice and are known as TTS3 voices. More on Real Voices and Real Directions. A more detailed discussion of Real Directions can be found in this FAQ. The new voice, Zoe, appears to be a TTS4 voice requiring yet another new voice engine.

On the older GPS devices, new voices and voice updates may be obtainable using Garmin's WebUpdater, Garmin Express software or at one time, the myGarmin web site. The myGarmin website no longer offers new voices. Here is more information on WebUpdater software, as well as the myGarmin website and Garmin Express software. On the newer Garmin GPS devices, additional new voices can only be obtained through Garmin Express. Although WebUpdater may update existing voices on many devices, it will not offer and add new voices to the newer devices. Garmin Express will offer voice updates to the active voice along with other device updates, but will not offer updates to the installed but not active voices.

Therefore, there are two ways to update voices on your device:

1) One way to be certain that you have the latest voice updates with Garmin Express is to repeat the method used to install them in the first place: with the device attached to the computer and selected, go to the Tools & Content section of Garmin Express, then click the Optional Updates, then Language Files, then English, then Install. With this method, you won't know what voices are being updated and the download is large, but you will have all English language voices in their latest versions.

2) Another way to update existing voices on your device is to use Garmin Express for updates for your active voice, then re-running Garmin Express after changing the active voice to all others until each has be updated.*

Although method 1 or 2 can be used to update voices, only method 1 will add new voices to a device.

A great website available in Polish and English is a great source for finding Garmin's voice updates' version numbers and changelogs:

Here is the current list of voices available, the version number and the date of the most current voice. If you know of newer updates, or have a question or comment, please visit this POI Factory thread and report what you've found.

Name, Current_version, Garmin's_webpage_date(m/d/y)

Small filesize, basic voice engine voices
Samantha, 2.00, 6/12/13
Jack, 2.00, 6/12/13
Karen, 1.20, 6/18/13
Lee, 1.20, 6/18/13
Daniel, 1.30, 6/18/13
Serena, 1.30, 6/18/13
Sangeeta, 1.10, 7/20/11

Large filesize, better-quality voices
Jill, 3.40, 6/21/13
Jack, 2.20, 12/13/13
Karen, 2.20, 6/13/13
Lee, 1.90, 8/11/09
Emily, 2.50, 6/18/13
Daniel, 2.20, 6/18/13
Sangeeta, 1.00, 3/18/00

Note: the devices that use the above large filesize TTS voices also can use the following non-TTS voices:

American Michelle, 2.00, 1/24/14
Australian Matilda, 1.00, possibly 12/7/11
British James, 2.10, possibly 11/29/11
British Kate, 2.10, possibly 11/30/11

Large file size, highest-quality TTS3 voices offering Real Directions
Serena, 2.20, 5/10/18 (also offers Real Voice)
Samantha, 2.70, 10/2/18 (also offers Real Voice)
Daniel, 2.20, 5/10/18
Jack, 2.70, 10/2/18
Lee, 2.30, 5/10/18
Karen, 2.20, 5/10/18
Sangeeta, 2.20, 5/10/18

The devices that use TTS3 voices also offer the non-text-to-speech voices Michelle, Matilda, James and Kate described earlier.

Update Dec 2023: From a recent Garmin Talk discussion here at POI Factory:

I see that at least three models, the Drivesmart 66, 76, and 86, offer another American English voice with Real Directions. It is Zoe. So far, I have no idea when the voice was issued and if other new devices offer the voice. As of late 2023, Zoe is version 2.30.

I did find a mention of Zoe here, but have no idea which devices it works with:

* Use of Garmin Express to update voices on newer Garmin devices:
Garmin Express will only offer a voice update when one is available if the voice with an update is the active voice being used in the device; i.e., if voice updates are offered for two voices and one is an owner's current active voice, the active voice update will be offered, and the installed, but the non-active voice will not be offered its voice update. To update the other voice, you will need to make it the active voice, then re-run Garmin Express. For example, in May 2018 all seven TTS3 voices received a version update. If using Garmin Express to detect a voice update and offer its installation and since Garmin Express only updates the active voice, Garmin Express will need to be run seven times after changing the active voice until all seven were updated. More information:

Change History

  • CraigW - Dec 9, 2023
    Thanks to users anh and jackrabbit000 for info on American English Zoe

  • CraigW - Dec 1, 2023
    Added info on American English voice Zoe

  • CraigW - Oct 5, 2018
    Samantha and Jack TTS3 update thanks to alandb

  • CraigW - May 14, 2018
    Major rewrite for clarity

  • CraigW - May 14, 2018
    Samantha and Jack TTS3 update thanks to alandb

  • CraigW - May 13, 2018
    Added a warning about use of WebUpdater for voice updates

  • CraigW - May 12, 2018
    Revised five TTS3 update dates thanks to member canuk!

  • CraigW - Jan 7, 2017
    Minor revision

  • CraigW - Dec 23, 2016
    Revised two TTS3 voice versions and date updated.

  • CraigW - Oct 20, 2016
    Footnote explains why Garmin Express may not offer a voice update

  • CraigW - Oct 19, 2016
    TTS3 Jack updated to v2.40

  • CraigW - Oct 19, 2016
    TTS3 Samantha update to v2.40

  • CraigW - Sep 28, 2016
    Revised FAQ regarding adding and updating voices due to changes in Garmin's software and website offerings

  • raycock - Jul 6, 2016
    Update Samantha and Jack TTS3 voices to 2.30 - improved pronunciation

  • CraigW - Jan 7, 2016
    Added discussion of Garmin Express sometimes not offering voice updates

  • CraigW - Jan 7, 2016
    TTS3 Jack 2.20 issued: Pronunciation improvements for major brands

  • CraigW - Jan 5, 2016
    TTS3 Samantha 2.20 issued: Pronunciation improvements for major brands

  • CraigW - Apr 13, 2015
    FAQ completely revised

  • CraigW - Apr 4, 2015
    Added information on TTS3 voices regarding Real Voice and Real Directions

  • CraigW - Oct 2, 2014
    Thanks to alandb for new TTS3 English language voices

  • CraigW - Jun 12, 2014
    Thanks to raycock for the Samantha TTS3 v2.00 update details