Monday, 16 November 2015

NVDA: Do You Like the Voices?

This video demonstrates the voices that are available to use in NVDA- the free screen reader.

This video is nearly 14 minutes long and includes a full set of subtitles.

In this video, I will demonstrate dozens of different voices that you can use in NVDA via the Microsoft Speech or the E-speak bank of voices. There is quite a selection.Hello everyone and welcome to this video.

Below is a full transcript of the video.

Start of transcript

In this video I am going to demonstrate the different voices that you can use for NVDA.

NVDA is a free screen reader. A screen reader is a piece of software that gives a computer a voice so that it narrates what is happening. NVDA stands for Non Visual Desktop Access.

Screen readers are predominantly used by people who are blind or visually impaired. The voice enables them to use their computer more independently.

NVDA is a great screen reader that is very powerful. It comes with loads of pre installed voices, the question is, do you like them?

If we open up the NVDA settings menu and go into the Preferences menu then go to the Synthesizer. This gives us access to two banks of voices; Microsoft Speech and espeak.

Microsoft Speech is a bank of voices that are pre- installed into every version of Windows.  E-speak voices are voices that are pre-installed into software such as NVDA.

So let’s first of all have a look at espeak. Click OK.

I am now going to go to the voices section, preferences, then voice settings

A box at the top is “voice”, which allows us to choose what language and dialect we want to use. So, using English as an example there are 7 different types of English available and I will demonstrate each of these.

First of all we have got English.

Next, we've got Scottish.

Then we've got English North.

Next we've got English RP which I think is received pronunciation.

Then we've got English WMids which I think is West Midlands.

Next, we've got English- US

And finally, we've got West Indies English.

So as I said that is the 7 different types of English that are available on E-speak.

Now I am just going to go back and do the default English version.

Once you have chosen the voice you can choose the variant.

The box below voice is labelled Variant and so once you have selected the language, you can now select between a range of male and female voices to talk in.

Now when I counted these there were there were 49 choices!

There are too many to demonstrate them all. all of them but let’s have a look at a few; female 1, female 2.

And now let's go to a voice named Rob.

Let's try Andy.

Next let's try a couple of female voices, firstly Linda.

And now let's try Jacky.

Next, let's try Michael.

Finally let's try Annie.

So there are some of the main voices that you can try.

There are also quite a few humorous voices as well, such as; whisper, Mr Serious, anxious Andy and then female whisper.

That's my demonstration of the E-speak voices, now let’s look at the Microsoft Voices.

So we are going to go back into the settings, preferences, synthesizer. In then in the synthesiser box, select Microsoft Speech. Click on OK.

Preferences, voice settings. In the voice box you can see that we just have 4 choices of voices; Hazel which is British English, Heera which is Indian English, David which is US English and Zira which is also US English. And so let's listen to them.

So there is a lot less choice with Microsoft but perhaps the quality is better?

How do these compare to voices that you have to pay for. Voices like “Daniel” which is the voice of Siri on iPads in the UK?

Let’s demonstrate Daniel and another high quality female voice, such as Serena.

If you like these voices enough, they can be bought for about £20 each.

so I have just turned NVDA off and I have just gone to this website here which is from a company called Nuance who are very very big in the computer voice world and they are the manufacturer's of Dragon Dictate for instance.

So I am going to come here and do an English British voice and then I am going to select a male and then I am going to come here to Daniel and I am just going to get Daniel to read the text that I have placed in the box.

And now I am going to choose a female voice and I am going to keep it English British and I am going to go to Serena.

So as I said earlier, these voices can bought for about £20 each.

But do you notice a difference in these voices and the quality in them to the voices that I was testing as par tof the NVDA?

Now in my next video, I will show you how to buy one of these voices and then how to install it so that it works in NVDA.

Thanks for watching. If you have any questions, or want to join in the discussion then please do so in the space below this video.

End of transcript

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