[Athen] Need Tips: Preparing JAWS-ready beginning Spanish textbook (Accessible PDF)

Teresa Haven Teresa.Haven at nau.edu
Wed Jan 20 17:06:10 PST 2016

Hi, Joseph. You have made some good observations, and I'll add a few considerations:

· I would not provide the student with a PDF of the book even if you have converted it to a tagged, searchable version. It's still not going to be an appropriately usable educational tool. Talk with the student and consider something better - preferably DAISY, EPUB, or something along those lines, or at the very least an appropriately marked-up Word version.

· You're right, the mixed use of languages in an elementary textbook has to be accounted for. JAWS can usually be pretty smart about large chunks of text (figuring out which synthesizer to use) but for small chunks like vocabulary lists that switch back and forth every other word, or sentences with mixed language, the text needs to be manually tagged with all the language changes.

· Color has to be represented by something else that JAWS can recognize and render. That might mean adding strong or emphasis tags, and/or creating a new convention for the book like a transcriber's note to be inserted into the text whenever red is used as a visual flag. Figuring this out will take some close observation and analysis of the usage patterns of color, bold, and italics throughout the text.

· Visual exercises have to be considered individually. You need to drill into what the educational point of the exercise is, and sometimes reformat it away from the visual form it's been given in the book. Ensure that the student's answers can still be provided in such a way to give the professor easy grading. If you'd like to send me an example of an exercise off-list (I have seen many different matching exercises in the past), I'd be happy to walk you through an analysis and suggestions for remediation.

Retrofitting foreign-language educational materials into something appropriately accessible requires a lot of labor and attention to detail. Spanish materials are actually some of the easiest to produce, so you're lucky to be starting with that language as your training ground.

I hope this helps, and please feel free to contact me directly with additional questions.


Teresa Haven, Ph.D.
Accessibility Analyst, Northern Arizona University

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Nast, Joseph M
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:55 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Need Tips: Preparing JAWS-ready beginning Spanish textbook (Accessible PDF)

Title: Puntos de partida: An Invitation to Spanish
Author: Dorwick, Thalia; Pérez-Gironés, Ana María; Becher, Anne
ISBN13: 9780073385419
Beyond simply using my OmniPage Pro to save\convert the publisher's non-accessible PDF to the tagged, searchable flavor, I was wondering if those wiser than me (meaning everyone) have any tips\best practices to offer regarding possibly problematic visual elements of the textbook, such as:

1. "Matching" mini-exercises that ask the reader to match items in the first column to a list of choices in the second.

2. Textbook's use of text color to tag important elements (quote: "Note the use of red to highlight aspects of Spanish that you should pay special attention to").

Additionally, I'm concerned about the book's use of mixed Spanish and English within the same sentence. I know that JAWS (at least v12 and up) has a Spanish voice (Paulina) and is capable of reading Spanish comprehensibly. However, I'm concerned about the Spanish voice's pronunciation of English words. (I've heard the English voice butcher Spanish words).

Any pointers are much appreciated. Thanks!

Joseph M. Nast<mailto:joseph.m.nast at lonestar.edu>
Assistive Technology Lab Coordinator
office phone: 281.290.3207
office room number: CASA 109j
Lone Star College Cy Fair<http://cyfair.lonestar.edu/>
Counseling, Career, and Disability Services<http://www.lonestar.edu/counseling-services.htm>

The information in this e-mail is legally privileged and confidential information intended to be reviewed by only the individual or organization named above.

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