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I am the disability services coordinator for a small university. I am currently looking for a program that could read text aloud (both text books and tests) to students with learning disabilities. However, I would need programs that could read text aloud in other languages. Do you know where I could find programs like this? I’m particularly interested in finding something with a variety of language options (Chinese, Korean, etc.). Many programs seem to have French and Spanish, but not too many other options.

Most major software now automatically incorporates assistive features, such as text-to-speech, directly into the software. This includes the Microsoft Speech Platform(opens in a new window) for Microsoft Office programs (PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, and One Note) and VoiceOver(opens in a new window) for Apple IOS systems. There are also a number of free websites that offer text-to-speech tools, such as Read Speaker(opens in a new window). Kurzeweil 3000(opens in a new window) is another program option if you need a more feature-rich program that combines a speech synthesizer with the ability to create documents and tables, talking reminders, and website reader. Kurzweil 3000 is also available in a variety of languages. These programs usually have a limited variety of languages. Depending on your student population, it may make sense to purchase a text-to-speech program that is compatible with add-ons, and purchase additional voices in other languages, as needed from a third party.

There are also a growing number of text-to-speech apps for iPhones/iPads and Android with multilingual options. Text-to-speech technology on a mobile phone is an incredibly useful and helpful tool for students, especially with the growing number of schools incorporating iPads and tablets into the classroom. Speak it! Text to Speech(opens in a new window) is by far one of the most advanced text-to-speech options for a mobile device and offers language options in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Other multilingual text-to-speech apps include Scan and Read Pro(opens in a new window), Voice Dream Reader, and ClaroSpeak US(opens in a new window).

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