[Athen] MathType and Screen Readers

Joseph Polizzotto jpolizzotto at berkeley.edu
Thu Feb 14 08:48:53 PST 2019

Hi Janet:

Regarding VoiceOver, you could use the pandoc filter --tex2svg to create
HTML + SVG. With the filter, MathJax speech rules engine inserts
descriptive alt text as the <title> element of each <svg> image, which is
what is read aloud when the gets to the SVG.

While some screen readers will want the navigation capabilities possible
when the math is rendered as MathML, HTML + SVG + descriptive alt text is
at least a degree of accessibility that VoiceOver users could benefit from.
It also works on iOS with the two-swipe down speak down functionality. I
have attached an example.

Another option for individuals who read braille is to use either the
--gladtex or --webtex flags when exporting with pandoc as that will render
the math as PNG images + LaTeX alt text. Students who know LaTeX could then
read the math more easily on their braille displays.



On Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 2:09 PM Janet Fukuda <jbf4811 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,


> I have a question for you. We are trying to create Word Documents using

> MathType that are to be read by screen readers and we are facing a few

> issues. The folks at WIRIS have said:


> 1. The JAWS and NVDA screen readers both work to read math content in

> web pages (with equations in mathml), but JAWS doesn't read MathType

> equations in Word/PowerPoint. Only NVDA screen reader with

> MathPlayer/MathType will read MathType equations in Word/PowerPoint.

> 2. Voiceover does not yet read the math content (MathType equations).

> Apple hasn't implemented the functionality for the reader to interpret them

> at this time. In the past, we contacted Apple regarding the need for this,

> but they don't have any immediate plans to integrate the feature. We don't

> have a way to get it working with Voiceover.


> What has been your experience? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.


> Janet

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*Alternate Media Supervisor*
Disabled Students' Program
University of California, Berkeley
(510) 642-0329
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