9.747 text to speech

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 16:28:49 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 9, No. 747.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Marc Bizer <mlbizer@mail.utexas.edu> (28)
Subject: text to speech

[2] From: John Slatin <jslatin@mail.utexas.edu> (24)
Subject: Re: text to speech

Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 23:36:06 -0500
From: Marc Bizer <mlbizer@mail.utexas.edu>
Subject: text to speech

>If you have a SoundBlaster 16 that comes with TextAssist software, you can
>set it up to read selected text aloud (drag your mouse across text on the
>page, or just hit Select All from the Edit menu if you want the whole
>thing), then invoke TextReader

Dear John,
I had forgotten that you use a Wintel machine. Did you know that
all Macs come standard with text-to-speech software, and all PowerMacs
(which is just about the entire line of Macintosh computers now) also
include speech recognition software (not allowing dictation, though; for
that you need to pay $2500 for a program called PowerSecretary).

I believe that there are free plug-ins for Netscape for the Mac
which allow it not only to speak web pages, but also to select links based
on verbal commands (for Macs with speech recognition).

I think that in the past at least, the Macintosh has been
friendlier to people with disabilities than Wintel machines.

It's really amazing how many people ignore the advantage of the
Macintosh platform :-)

Yours truly,


Department of French and Italian | Marc Bizer
University of Texas at Austin | History and Macintosh Society
Austin, TX 78712-1197 | 1603 Woodlawn Blvd. Apt.4
(512) 471-5531 | Austin, TX 78703-3350

H-Mac: a Mac users group with approxiately 500 members from 28 countries
Our home page: <http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/hmac/hmachome.html>

Date: Sat, 20 Apr 1996 16:35:05 -0500
From: John Slatin <jslatin@mail.utexas.edu>
Subject: Re: text to speech

Hi, Marc. Thanks-- I've tried the Talker plugin, but not the
voice-activated one (though I've seen references to it). The Talker one is
a bit of a pain because it requires a separate file, but that's
actuallyprobably no worse than maintain a set of text-only pages as many
sites are starting to do now. The Mac text-to-speech stuff is very good.

Historically, now, Mac and PCs are about on a par as far as accessibility is
cocerned; in the past, though, the PC was way out in front because of all
those text-based DOS applications-- they made it comparatively easy to
develop software that would route both content and interface stuff to a
speech synthesizer. That's gotten harder, of course, as the GUI has become
predominant, but there are some moderately good (stil unsatisfactory) tools
out there for WIndows now too. There's only one program that I know of,
outSpoken, that renders the Mac *interface* as speech and allows users who
are blind to navigate it. There are a number of these on the PC side,
including a version of outSpoken.

I'm going out to the Texas School for the Blind next Friday to review some
software they've done in HyperCard; I'll be very interested to see how it
works-- it's designed for kids with multiple impairments.

Professor John M. Slatin
Director, Computer Writing & Research Lab
Div. of Rhetoric and Composition and Dept. of English
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
jslatin@mail.utexas.edu http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu