New Accessible Tech For The Blind in Malaysia
One of the best use of a Text to Speech engine is to read electronic files that are in the form of a document to blind people. Working together with OCR applications, such a speech engine will also be able to read printed or even clearly written hand written print to the blind.
However, even though Malaysia stresses on the need to use our own national language, no money has been allocated to develop such an engine. Perhaps, initiatives in developing such an engine never ended up with such a tool. However, businesses such as Nuance has actually made one such text to speech engine and has named it Amira.
Working together with a China developer, NCBM is about to make available such a tool. It is in the form of a pocket size MP3 player that has capabilities of opening up document files and have them read aloud. Therefore, such a tool will be very useful to blind people who want to read documents without having to turn on a computer. Without a Malay text to speech engine, most of us have to be contented using English or American speech engines to read Malay. Some of us have got use to using an Indonesian text to speech to read Malay but it will be preferably to have one that we can call our own.
Prior to this initiative of ours, this device only reads in English Chinese and some other languages which has been made available by the different country representatives. Within the next 2 weeks or so, NCBM will make this available. Not only will it read documents, the menu is also now in Malay.
For a demonstration of this device reading the Malaysian Disability Act, (Act 685) in Malay, you can listen to the audio below;
For more information, kindly call
National Council for the Blind, Malaysia,