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Dielectric elastomer generators convert mechanical work into electrical energy. Previous tests on membrane inflation elastomer generators, however, indicated rather low efficiency on energy harvesting. To characterize this phenomenon, an analytical model for viscoelastic dielectric elastomer generators is presented to maximize the energy conversion. The analysis is intended for inhomogeneous fields. The result indicates that viscoelasticity and instabilities during inflation and deflation degrade the efficiency of energy conversion and the specific electrical energy generated per cycle. Rapid loading and unloading, as well as appropriate pre-stretches, are found to upgrade the performances of the dielectric elastomer generators. The analysis may guide the design of dielectric elastomer generators.