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  1. #1
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    I'm trying to support text-to-speech synthesis from my (X)HTML pages. Creating and maintaining a whole set of SSML pages is too much work. Using <abbr title=""> (the acronym tag is leaving HTML), with the title values being speakable, has proven messy, because browsers show many more underlinings and tooltips, distracting users who see. Instead, I'm writing CSS2 for ACSS (Aural CSS) and a XML-based PLS (Pronunciation Lexicon Specification) 1.0 *.pls file of supplemental pronunciations with the intent that TTS shouldn't make as many errors (TTS often makes many, in my experience).

    How do I associate my Web pages with the *.pls file?

    What I've considered so far: Marking up strings in XHTML 1.0/HTML 4.01 with pronunciations, with identical strings having to be marked up at every appearance, is far too labor-intensive. Listing the strings once per page in the head element is unsupported. Linking the PLS file from the (X)HTML page is unsupported, although I've proposed that for HTML 5 (see http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=7601). And I'd like to handle a string that can have more than one pronunciation by specifying in the PLS file a default pronunciation and on an (X)HTML page when an exceptional pronunciation is desired for that context, but I don't have a way to do that yet, although I wonder if I can I use the id="" and name="" attributes in (X)HTML and xml:id in the XML-written *.pls file to tie one word on a page to a pronunciation in the *.pls file. I've asked in 2 Usenet groups (comp.speech.research and comp.speech.users) and a Web design forum but no answer has come.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.

    --
    Nick

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Nick ...

    We're not ignoring this post ...

    I think you're not getting answers because ... and I speak for myself,
    we have no idea what you're talking about. It's wayyy over my head.

    I think you're working on something very specific and not common,
    thus, everyone like me is just not sure what it means.

    But hang around our forum, because you might have the know-how
    to help us with some other things that are beyond our abilities.


    .


  4. #3
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    I suggest you repost your question on Accessify - they're a forum specifically oriented towards accessibility and ADA topics: http://www.accessifyforum.com/

  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Steven ... both you and Nick should get a life

    It's all over our heads ...
    oh yea, you're the forum owner, so that figures.


  6. #5
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    Steven, I just posted at Accessify Forum (quick searches there yielded no posts on topic). It looks like a good place to ask. Hopefully, we'll be successful.

    mlseim, just to be clearer, what I'm doing is trying to make websites I'm developing usable by more users. So I design for IE5/5.5 so it'll work on old browsers (I have Win95a/98SE on my non-Internet computers, one with 32MiB RAM, while my Internet computer has a newer Linux with Firefox 3.0.4) and I'm overlapping both HTML 4.01 and 5 markup into the same pages to increase how many browsers can handle the pages and to support more search engine parsing of semantic markup.

    More users include users who can't see or can't read or just want to have the Web talk to them while they multitask. Some browsers and some specialized text-to-speech synthesis software, some of it free, support this, but if you don't have speech-specific markup in your pages the results can be surprising, confusing, wrong, and sometimes laughable, which may explain why probably almost no one you know who can read perfectly well and happily plays radio or television in the background at home nonetheless is willing to have Web content read to them. So markup to guide speech synthesizers is a major need. But manual markup using the HTML abbr tag is labor-intensive, repetitive, limited in what it supports in practice, not exactly supported by the HTML spec, and accompanied by display effects (like confusing, extraneous, or ludicrous tooltips) that people who see can find distracting. So another system would help. One is SSML; it's somewhat like (X)HTML but intended for speech synthesis, and it comes from W3C (http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/). But it's also a lot of work, since every page has to be created twice and then manually tweaked a lot. Another approach is PLS, the Pronunciation Lexicon Specification (http://www.w3.org/TR/pronunciation-lexicon/), which allows creating a *.pls file to hold pronunciations and saves on labor, but it lacks guidance on how to associate an (X)HTML page with the *.pls file meant to support it, so a browser or TTS program probably wouldn't connect them. Right now, my only solution to that is to draft my own spec (encouraged by W3C's HTML5 spec editor, which he may come to regret) and then hope that at least one browser maker or TTS software programmer agrees to implement it. Don't hold your breath.

    Thanks, Steven and mlseim. Maybe the AccessifyForum folks will suggest something and I can stop drafting yet another set of rules, and just write my websites.


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