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Kindle Now has Text to Speech on iPad Ipod Iphone

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on Thu May 02, 2013

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May Day brought a nice surprise for Kindle readers who use the app on their iOS. Now Kindle books can be read using text-to-speech on an iPad, iPhone or iPod. Before this update it’s always been a bit frustrating for readers of Kindle books to find that there was no way to listen to their collection on an iPad. Blind and visually impaired people who already had purchased Kindle books found that if they downloaded their Kindle books to an iPad it wasn’t possible to use the built-in features offered by VoiceOver. It wasn’t even possible to use the Speak Selection feature to select a word or chunk of text to have it read out. Now it is possible to use VoiceOver (not Speak Selection though).

Kindle Reader uses VoiceOver so if you want to use Kindle’s text-to-speech functions VoiceOver needs to be installed and running. To do this go to:

 Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > On.

VoiceOver is designed to allow blind and visually impaired people to access iOS So when it is running you activate apps in a slightly different way than the standard iOS approach. Mostly this involves a double tap instead of single tap (which makes sense, after all a blind or visually impaired person will want to check the right app is selected (single tap), before activating that app (double tap). Thereafter, use of text-to-speech is pretty straightforward and quite powerful.

  • In Kindle Library with VoiceOver on, tap once on a book to have full spoken information about each title, author and whether the book is installed. Double tap to open the book and start reading from where you left off.
  • Use a two finger swipe down to start continuous reading from top of page.
  • Use a single two finger tap while reading to pause. Two finger tap once again to resume.
  • Single finger tap selects a line of text and reads under the finger. (Like Speak Selection only it gives context too.) Single finger tap anywhere to read that line. Two finger tap to return to library.
  • Suppose you are in single line reading at a time (e.g. for meaning), and you want to return to continuous reading. Simply do a two finger swipe down to resume continuous reading.
  • Three finger swipe right to left to move to next page, or left to right to go to previous page.

All of these options are clearly spoken out.

What does it allow you to read?

Kindle titles will work. However, Word documents, PDF documents will not offer text-to-speech (many other apps do offer this functionality).

The big advantage is in being able to read your Kindle formatted books using text-to-speech.

Can you use other voices?

While t is not at all obvious how to do it is still possible to change the voice used in text-to-speech with the Kindle. The secret is to think about how you would give access to this facility to a blind or visually impaired person. You would do it from within VoiceOver. Here’s how to do it using the Language Rotor.

Setup is atwo stage process. First, you set up the languages you want to make available from within VoiceOver. Second with Voiceover activated, select the languages from the rotor you previously set up.

Turn on voices to be selected from in Language Rotor. 

General > Settings > Accessibility > Language Rotor (below Rotor)

Tap to select each of the languages you want to use as options e.g. US English, British English, Irish English.

Tap VoiceOver (at top of screen) to come out of Language Rotor.

Now you will want to select the chosen language or dialect. You do this with VoiceOver On.

  • Turn on VoiceOver as before General > Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > On
  • Launch Kindle with VoiceOver On.
  • Tap and rotate two fingers on the screen clockwise to turn on Rotor and the command available is spoken. (e.g. Characters, Words, Line etc.)
  • Repeat the movement until it says Language you’re ready now.
  • Do a one finger slide down, it will speak out the first voice you selected as an option. Repeat the rotor action until you reach the dialect or voice that you want. That is now selected. 
Now a two-finger swipe down will speak out in your preferred voice.

Now Apple if we could only have the Scottish Voices available from within the Languages available not just in the apps but across the whole system. That would be great!

Tags: Kindle, text-to-speech, Dyslexia, visual impairment

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