Re: the DTBM machine from nls

David Goldfield <david.goldfield@...>

Hi, Don.

I am also one of those readers who never had any difficulties in listening to books with synthetic speech. When I read, particularly fiction, I tend to superimpose the voices of the characters over the synthetic voice which is reading the text. This means that, while I start out by listening to the synthetic voice, my brain almost does this immediate translation where the voice almost turns into the voice of the character. I also tend to fill in visual information as well with the various scenes contained in the text, making the synthesizer almost a secondary player. I honestly can't take any credit for mastering this skill as it's something that I just do automatically and I can recall doing this since the '90s, when I first got into technology. I'm wondering if blind readers who have been using synthetic speech for a while have just taught themselves to do it as a way of compensating for the artificial speech? It's an interesting skill and I'm curious to know how many others can do this and how many tend to struggle with synthetic speech for reading long pieces of text, such as a novel. If you are one of those who struggle with reading a book with synthetic speech are you relatively new to speech devices or have you been using them for a while. I remember first reading short stories in the '90s with my Braille 'n Speak, which was the first speech device that I ever owned, and having no difficulties doing so. In some ways I almost prefer listening to a book with synthetic speech over human narration. At times I have difficulty with how some narrators interpret how the text should be read or a narrator's voice might be one that I might personally find not pleasant to listen to. As an example, I love reading Star Trek novels but I never liked the way Bob Askey interpreted the characters of Spock and Mccoy, as he made them sound more like caricatures of themselves. A speech synthesizer has no such bias and will always read the text in a predictable way, without interjecting a specific bias or interpretation into the reading. I actually prefer this and my brain takes over anyway, turning the artificial voice into the human voices of the various characters. Don't get me wrong; there are fabulous human narrators out there, both commercially and from NLS, who are extremely talented and who can do great justice to how a book should be read. But I find some of them annoying in how they read or in how they place their own interpretation of how a book should be read, which differs from how I expect it to be read. This is, of course, subjective and a narrator which I might not like might be one which many feel is fantastic and that's perfectly OK.

David Goldfield, Assistive Technology Specialist WWW.David-Goldfield.Com

On 2/5/2019 4:51 PM, Donald L. Roberts wrote:
Understandably, a lot of people complain bitterly at the thought of books using synthesized speech. However, if synthetic speech were used for non-poetry and some other not so critical types of books, I guarantee you that far more books would be available from Bard. I know this is very subjective, but I don't think synthetic speech is difficult to get used to.  Thank heaven for Bookshare, Kindle, and some (shal we say) unauthorized sources.

Don Roberts

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Holly" <feyk7@...>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 12:48 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] the DTBM machine from nls

| All books are narrated by humans.

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