[bct] Re: Speech [was Transcription]

  • From: Tim Cross <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 18:49:14 +1100

I use a fast speech rate. At work I use a dectalk express and set it
to at least 400, at home I use a software dectalk and have it set to a
similar speed. 

I've found that you get use to faster speeds and I found standard
speaking rate just too slow to get through the volume of stuff I want
to read. My braille is truely pathetic and something I've been
seriously considering learning properly.

I don't use headphones because I find it too isolating from whats
going on around me and nearly have a hart attack every time someone
taps me on the shoulder. The fast rate I listen to speech amazes
people I work with as they can't understand it. This is an added bonus
as it means I can listen to e-mails etc and not feel everyone else is
hearing my personal communication. 

The only problem I have is some friends of mine who have rather
strange senses of humor and send me e-mails with content they have
written to make my speech synthesizer make odd sounds. Also, if I drop
the speech rate to a "normal" rate which everyone can understand, it
can be a bit embarrassing when you get those spam e-mails for viagra
and products designed to make certain parts of the male anatomy


Jamie Pauls writes:
 > Great article. There is a lot there for a sighted person to try to digest. I
 > can see why they may have been overwhelmed, which is the only word you
 > didn't use to describe their reaction. <grin> I trust they asked some
 > intelligent questions after reading the article.  I have been using speech
 > at about 440 words per minute for quite a while, but decided to kick it up
 > to 500 wpm for a bit to see how it goes. I think it's a good idea to push
 > the envelope a bit if possible because I am convinced the computer really
 > does work better the faster the speech is. If I want to read something very
 > carefully such as a manual, I may slow things down occasionally. Let's
 > change the subject line and see how many folk like really fast speech and
 > how many prefer it slower. I'm using Elloquence at 500 words per minute.
 > What are some other preferences out there?
 > -----Original Message-----
 > From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > [mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rose Combs
 > Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:49 PM
 > To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
 > Subject: [bct] Transcription
 > This is not exactly my career cast, however, the following was an article I
 > wrote for my office newsletter.  Some people thought it was confusing, some
 > said it was the content of the article, some said it was the concepts in the
 > article.  It is already published, but I'd like your opinions.  
 > *************
 > Written by Rose Combs
 > Imagine you have come in to your desk to work, but your computer screen is
 > not visible, except for one line.  You can use your arrow keys to move
 > around, and you can tell that you moved up/down a line.  This is similar to
 > how a screen reader works.  The two most popular screen readers in the
 > states are JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and Window Eyes.  The product I
 > have used since we moved into Windows 95 in 1999 is JAWS.  
 > JAWS takes a look at what is going on behind the scenes and then reports
 > what the screen is showing.  I can see a small portion of the screen at a
 > time, or rather, I can only hear one portion of the screen at a time.  JAWS
 > is controlled for the most part by the number keypad of the keyboard, and
 > from there I can give it instructions to read the whole document, read the
 > line I am working on, or tell it to read from the edge of the screen to my
 > current cursor position.  I can also adjust the speech rate, the voices used
 > for various characteristics of the program, and tell it how I specifically
 > want each program I use to work.  
 > There are various sound schemes that can be created, some ship with the
 > product.  The sound scheme I most often employ is active when I am on the
 > internet and all the links on the page as the page is read to me are in a
 > female voice.  Quotations are in a different voice.  Headings also come up
 > in different pitches of the normal JAWS voice.  If you see colors on the
 > page, I hear different voices and could also add different sounds to alert
 > me to the various elements on a page.  The catch on the internet is that all
 > graphical links must have an Alt tag so that JAWS will know how to tell me
 > what it is.  
 > When I press F5 to enter the interfaces, it takes about 30-45 seconds for
 > JAWS to read me the information, job number, date of dictation, MR number,
 > report type and physician.  At first, it sounds like a lot of numbers that
 > sounds like a mess.  I can, route the JAWS review cursor to the PC cursor
 > and then re-read the line if necessary.  Then when I get to the list of
 > admissions/accounts, I listen to most of each line before I decide if it is
 > the correct admission, one line at a time with about 30 seconds per line,
 > and I run the speech quite fast.  
 > JAWS comes equipped with scripts to help with spell check but does not
 > detect the red lines, so I turn that feature off.  I normally run spell
 > check at the end of the report.  While in spell check, JAWS will read the
 > misspelled word and then the first suggestion in the list.  If that is what
 > I want I press <Alt><c> to change; otherwise, I can edit the word by using
 > the cursor, backspace and delete keys, or I press <Tab> to the suggestion
 > list and down arrow, at which point the next word in that list will be
 > spoken and spelled.  I use the typical keyboard commands to work through the
 > document, including adding words to the dictionary, ignoring it once or
 > always and so forth.  
 > Generally after I do a spell check I then command Jaws to read me the whole
 > document continuously.  I run Jaws at a fast rate, approximately 500 words
 > per minute; however with years of experience and even with its ability to
 > mispronounce many words, I recognize errors and if at any time while
 > listening to the document I need to correct something I can stop the
 > reading, return to where I heard the error and correct it.  I also set Jaws
 > to indicate words that are capitalized by changing the pitch of the voice to
 > a higher pitch.  If I find even one error, to my way of thinking it means
 > better quality of work for me,  so I proofread every report; however, some
 > errors may be missed even so, I hope not many.  
 > Some other tools I use include the Braille Dorland's Speller in seven large
 > volumes that is on my bookshelf, this particular one was copyrighted in
 > 1965.  The actual Dorland's dictionary from the same time frame is in 49
 > volumes like the ones on my desk, but they include the definitions.
 > Obviously, there isn't enough room for them in the office.  I do have access
 > to things in braille now that I bought a Braille Note, a note taking device
 > with a braille display.  It has the ability to take notes, includes a
 > calculator, word processor, planner, address book, and more.  Because it
 > uses compact flash cards, I can store many books on the device, in
 > electronic braille and access them.  
 > I also bought an optical character recognition (OCR) program for my home
 > computer and a scanner, then scanned some of the Stedman's word books into
 > my computer and loaded those files onto the compact flash card for the
 > Braille Note and can now call up, for example, the Stedman's Surgical Word
 > Book.  With this as an electronic file I can perform searches to find some
 > of the information I need.  Other blind MTs are loading all the Stedman's
 > word books on compact disk to their computers.  
 > The last piece of equipment I may use is called an Optacon, which was how I
 > used to read my computer screen.  Essentially what this does is when I run a
 > small camera over a page of print it converts the image to an array that
 > holds only one of my fingers and what I feel is a vibrating tactile
 > representation of the printed letter.  With the Optacon you only see one
 > letter at a time, and in some books if the letters are huge, you only see
 > part of it at a time.  I probably can read at about 40 words per minute
 > using the machine, or could years ago anyway.  My memory is also a great
 > tool, except as I get older, sometimes it seems a bit faulty, like days when
 > words I can normally spell seem to elude me.  
 > Rose Combs
 > rosecombs@xxxxxxxxx 

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