[Athen] Interesting Jaws bug when reading foreign languages

Deborah Armstrong armstrongdeborah at fhda.edu
Sat Apr 25 19:59:22 PDT 2020

... though FS tech support says it's the way it is supposed to work.

This is only relevant for JAWS users who are studying or just reading foreign languages.

If you turn "language detect change" on in JAWS settings center or quick settings, then JAWS will read in a diferent language if the document (word or html) is properly marked up. That all works as expected.

If you turn "language detect change" off, then it ignores this markup. You would turn it off when markup is incorrect and JAWS starts reading in the wrong language.

But, here's the buggy part. If you press Windows-Control-L, JAWS pops up a menu to let you choose which language it should be pronouncing. If you pick a foreign language it is supposed to begin reading in that language. You would use this feature if you need to read a document that isn't marked up properly, or you need to read within an application where such markup isn't possible. A good example is an online interactive lab in another language. Another example are bookshare books which don't have markup for foreign languages.

However, this pronouncing in a foreign language works only if "language detect change" is off. If it's turned on, then JAWS will continue to read in English, even if you've selected a foreign language. But its message and keyboard voice will be read in the foreign language. The voice JAWS calls the "PC cursor" will continue pronouncing the foreign language as English. (The JAWS cursor voice will read in the foreign language correctly.)

I've sent a report to FS but I think they are just going to tell me again that this is how it is supposed to work. However it makes no sense to me that the message and keyboard voices would use the foreign pronunciation while the screen voice continues pronouncing in English.

At least it's easy to solve the problem; simply turn "language detect change" off to actually get the reading voice to read in the proper language when you select it with the Control-Windows-L menu.

I have tested this with Eloquence the default voice but also with the Vocalizer Expressive high quality free voices you can add to your JAWS installation. They are particularly useful for foreign language study.

As far as I know, NVDA and VoiceOver users don't have this ability to change the reading language on the fly for documents without proper markup. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know!


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