Text to Speech

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Text to speech software applications read selected areas of text aloud to the user. They should not be confused with Screen Readers which offer sophisticated navigational capabilities unnecessary for most sighted users.

Text to Speech applications range in type from commercial software, with many additional features such as spelling and homophone checkers, toto free and open source applications such as DSpeech, Balabolka and Orato. These have fewer features but have the benefit of being free and running from a memory stick. In order for free text-to-speech tools to work well  you need to have a high quality synthetic voice installed. In England you can use the Jisc TechDis voices or, in Scotland, the Scottish voices.

Foremost among the commercial text to speech software are Texthelp Read and Write Gold and ClaroRead. The potential users of text to speech software are diverse; many people in an organisation may have difficulty with reading that they would normally conceal. Organisations which have installed the software across all of their computers have found many of their users will use it as required by their individual needs.

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