[Athen] other alternatives to Kurzweil?

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Tue Sep 11 11:08:26 PDT 2018

Kurzweil comes with quite a few voices, and you can download extra voices from a lot of different places. The problem is not the voices, but the student. And it may be difficult, but they will need to figure out how to make this work for them. My question would be to ask them how they like the voice on their iPhone (Siri). I’ll bet they are doing fine with that one, and it is very similar to other voices out there. It takes some getting used to, for sure, but in order to be successful, they will have to keep trying. When I have a student complain about the voices, I suggest they switch to one with either a British or Australian English voice. They actually report back to me that these voices sound better to them. It is definitely worth a shot. I also, for LD students, often recommend VoiceDream reader. It comes with over 300 voices. Many of them are very very good.

Every semester I get at least one student who insists that they can’t use anything but a human voice. We do not have the option of providing that, but they always have the option of buying audible books instead of regular books if they want. Learning Ally is a good source, but the selection may be limited or may be older versions.

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
University of Colorado Boulder

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Kevin Andrews
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 5:00 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] other alternatives to Kurzweil?

Hi all,

I met with a student who I've seen before. They are finding the voices very difficult with Kurzweil and from our discussion, they have tried a variety of voices, different rates of speech, etc, and reported disliking the robotic-sounding voices, not maintaining inflection appropriately, etc. We talked about Learning Ally, but just given a couple of the titles, I don't know this will be feasible since LA does not always carry the titles--as is the case for the one title they were able to give me already thus far.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? It seems computerized voices are problematic for the student. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated here.


Kevin Andrews
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Accessible Technology Coordinator,
Scribes and Readers Coordinator
Disability Resource Center
University of California, Santa Cruz
Website: drc.ucsc.edu<http://drc.ucsc.edu>

Direct Line: 831 459-1262

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