Re: Article on Screen Reader History (including NVDA)


Yeah, it sounds like a Brit trying too hard and failing miserably to speak with an American accent. And some of the other Espeak languages are simply awful. Hawaiian is a distorted mess, and I can't understand why. Very disappointing, was really looking forward to that one. There are 3 others just as distorted: Latgalian, Latvian, and Klingon. Oo I didn't know they had Klingon... But it sucks! It's this nasal distorted thing. OK, some of the variants aren't like that with them, but very few, and not ones I like. Cherokee sounds like someone talking with a tube stuck up their nose. I'm not impressed with Vietnamese either, none of the 3, but for other reasons, indistinct consonants, some consonants don't seem to sound like they should at all. I sort of tried to learn it in 2012. I don't speak Arabic, but I've picked up some words watching Youtube videos, I can't stand ESpeak's Arabic voice for reading song titles and Youtube videos, so I use Persian instead. The glottal stops and, I think it's the q, aren't handled well at all IMHO. Aramaic doesn't seem to be very good either, when I listen to the singer say the song title it sounds nothing like what comes out of ESpeak. I use the different ESpeak languages to help me figure out and remember how to pronounce artists and song titles for my Internet radio show in a slew of languages. Most of the voices are reasonable, for my purposes anyway, but some of the voices are just useless.

Shawn Klein

On 7/22/2022 10:13 AM, Devin Prater wrote:

The slightly funny thing is that even today, the American English version of ESpeak sounds a bit British still.
Devin Prater

On Fri, Jul 22, 2022 at 10:00 AM Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
I should add that my comments refer to the American English implementation.  I can't comment on Eloquence for other languages. 

I can say that I've heard the British  English implementation of Eloquence and it is significantly inferior to the American implementation.  It sounds as though it is someone trying to imitate a British accent and I suspect that it was developed by American English speakers, which accounts for its imitation quality.

On 7/22/2022 9:53 AM, Gene wrote:
That may account for its initial popularity but it doesn't account for its continued popularity when so many other synthesizers are available.  It is popular because it does what the most people want it to do the best.  It is responsive, pronounces more words than other synthesizers I've tried correctly out of the box, allows for rapid listening while keeping speech more intelligible than other synthesizers I've tried and it is light on computer resources.

I used DeccTalk before there was an Eloquence and, though it has a more pleasant voice, it is not as easy to listen to speech rapidly and miss as few words as with Eloquence.

Some people may say that other less human and more mechanical sounding synthesizers allow faster listening.  I can't say.  But if that is true, it is also evidently true, that one reason Eloquence is so popular is that it allows a good compromise between the sound of the voice and rapid speech intelligibility.  I suspect a lot of users don't want to use a mechanical sounding synthesizer to get faster reading speed.


On 7/22/2022 9:43 AM, Josh Kennedy wrote:
I also find it interesting that the eloquence voice many people like that is also now on iPhone is now 27 or so years old already. and I think the only reason it became so popular is that Jaws started implementing it and encouraging its use back in early to mid 1996. Jaws 3.2 was the first Jaws for windows version to have eloquence. I got in on cd in the mail in July of 1996 and I thought it was amazing that you just needed a computer with a sound card and no external speech box plugged into the computer. So then eloquence took over, decTalk and Keynote gold software went away because I think eloquence was free with jaws while decTalk software and Keynote were paid products. And eloquence I guess sounded better than both of those. 

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