[Athen] Learning Arabic with AT?

Wink Harner foreigntype at gmail.com
Fri Apr 7 11:49:14 PDT 2017

Hi all ATHEN-ites,

Kurzweil has the option of working in Arabic & English. Make sure the Arabic
voice is loaded and have the student choose a suitable English voice. All
text must be marked as one language or the other. The beginning levels of a
language there is a predominance of English and short phrases & vocabulary
in the target language. This level is tedious to switch back and forth,
marking one or two words in a sentence as Arabic. The switching back & forth
between languages is not an automatic recognition accomplished by the scan.
Unless the entire book is in Arabic, of course. Otherwise it's a manual
process of selecting blocks of text as either English or Arabic.

Note that the OCR engine Kurzweil uses does not allow you to separate out
color layers, so blocks of text in a FL book which are in pretty color
overlays are often screened completely blank, completely screening out all
text, when run through the OCR. These blocks of text must be retyped from
scratch (I dictated the last book conversion I did in Spanish, so that made
it easier for me production-wise). You CAN create specialized pronunciation
vocabulary files in Kurzweil, so if you run into "funky" TTS pronunciation,
you can manually flag the word and type in a unique pronunciation for it.
Save the specialized pronunciation file with the book(s). That way every
time that word appears in the text, it will be pronounced per the
specialized pronunciation you created. Find a work study student or a TA who
is fluent in Arabic or a student who has taken and done well (B or better)
in the upper division Arabic language classes to process the alt-text from
pdf to Kurzweil. A non-Arabic speaker/reader may not produce an acceptable
quality conversion for your student.

Since Arabic reads from right to left, you'll need to ensure Kurzweil is
reading it in the correct order, and make sure your keyboard is set up to
type from right to left. Create a toggle key combo to switch your keyboard
quickly back to English. I switch between English, Spanish, Portuguese and
French keyboards with ALT-SHIFT keys as my toggle combo.

The student will need the DNS in Arabic version of the program. When setting
up Dragon in Arabic and English, the menus and instructions can be set to
English, but the commands will be done in Arabic. Tt's true that you can
have multiple voice/multiple language profiles set up in the same version of
Dragon, but switching back and forth is clunky. It's not as simple as
speaking fluently or fluidly switching from Arabic to English, for example.
When you want to incorporate English in the midst of a dictation in Arabic
or vice versa, you must first SAVE the Arabic voice profile, then OPEN the
English profile from the TOOLS menu, and so on, back and forth each time you
switch languages. It takes some getting used to, and it is not as intuitive
as just speaking to the computer and having it type what you say. Providing
the student with some tech support & training for this would be important to
ensure their grasping Nuance's nuances and their learning the program
doesn't interfere with their learning the needed material for classes.

I have done a number of specialized conversions (physics, chemistry, Spanish
and French) in Kurzweil, and have extensive skill in using other languages
of Dragon in my professional career(s).

If you would like to contact me for more info or support, please do. Would
be glad to help.

Wink Harner

Wink Harner

Adaptive Technology Consulting & Training

Alternative Text & Media Production

The Foreigntype

<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com> foreigntype at gmail.com

<mailto:winkharner1113 at gmail.com> winkharner1113 at gmail.com

(Disclaimer: this email was dictated with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Please
forgive any quirks, mis-recognitions, or omissions.)

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Villanueva, K-leigh
Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2017 11:21 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Learning Arabic with AT?

Kurzweil has an Arabic option...and there is a keyboard conversion tool/ and
or an arabic keyboard. Is this what is needed? K-leigh

Sent from my Sprint Samsung GalaxyR Note 4.

-------- Original message --------
From: "DiMola, Amy E" <dimolaa at uww.edu>
Date: 4/6/17 1:17 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] Learning Arabic with AT?


I have a college student who uses speech-to-text (Dragon NaturallySpeaking)
and text-to-speech (Kurzweil 3000) who plans on taking Arabic in the fall.
The student is physically unable to write, and relies on a combination of
speech-to-text and aides to complete assignments.

I would greatly appreciate some recommendations for helping this student
access and complete the course!

Thank you,

Amy DiMola

Adaptive Technology Specialist/Disability Services Coordinator

Center for Students with Disabilities

Andersen Library Room 2002E

800 West Main Street

Whitewater, WI 53190

Appointments: 262-472-4711

Direct: 262-472-5207

Fax: 262-472-4865


*Please remember to submit your Alternative Media requests as soon as

* Deadline to submit testing appointment requests for Spring finals in CSD
is May 1.

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