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MathPlayer Can Speak!

MathPlayer's math-to-speech technology

MathPlayer contains Design Science's math-to-speech technology. We started working on this technology many years ago. Based on feedback and continuous work, we have greatly expanded math-to-speech capability so that we are the clear leaders in producing understandable speech from math. Our technology delivers different speech based on the user's needs and content area of the page. We also support 15 different languages and have plans to add even more languages to MathPlayer in the future.

If you are using a learning disability tool that highlights words as it speaks them, it will probably highlight the math also. See if your assistive technology vendor is listed on our AT Support page as supporting synchronized highlighting of math.

MathPlayer 3 incorporates the ability to generate braille from MathML so that it can be sent to a refreshable braille display. Check our AT Support page to see if your assistive technology vendor supports braille output.

While you can often use the left and right arrow keys to move back and forth by character to hear the words that MathPlayer spoke, we know better navigation is very important. We are actively developing navigation capabilities as part of joint IES grant with ETS. We expect navigation to be incorporated into a future release.

Making MathPlayer speak the math in a web page

You can make MathPlayer speak the math embedded in a web page two ways:

  • Right-click on an equation and choose the Speak Expression command.
  • Use a screen reader product that will read the entire web page and invoke MathPlayer to speak the math.

Just as a test, right-click on the equation below and choose Speak Expression:

α 2 + β 2 1

In order for this demonstration to work, you must have a MathPlayer-compatible text-to-speech engine installed on your computer. If you don't have such an engine, MathPlayer will display a dialog directing you to this page. Please follow the instructions for installing a text-to-speech engine in the next section. Users with low vision may also benefit from MathPlayer's MathZoom feature; simply click on the expression and an enlarged version will appear -- click again to close it.

Installing a MathPlayer-compatible text-to-speech engine

If you are running Windows XP or later, an additional download of a text-to-speech engine should not be required. If need be, you can download a free text-to-speech engine from Microsoft. First download and install Microsoft Reader and then download and install the text-to-speech engine mentioned on that page. The installer will suggest that you "activate" Microsoft Reader -- this is not necessary for MathPlayer. You can change the voice that it is used to speak the math, along with the rate and volume of the speech using Window's Speech Control Panel. Select the "Text to speech" tab to see your speech options. Many people prefer the female voice for speaking math.

Higher quality text-to-speech engines can be purchased from other vendors.  For example, AT&T Natural Voices are compatible with MathPlayer's "speak expression" command and can be purchased at one of the sites listed at the NextUp website. Other speech engines should work if they support Microsoft's SAPI 5 interface. 

Using MathPlayer with screen readers or learning disability software

MathPlayer implements Microsoft's Active Accessibility (MSAA) interface so that assistive software, such as screen readers, can seamlessly take advantage of MathPlayer's math-to-speech technology. Most screen readers make use of this standard interface. Screen readers known to work with MathPlayer include Window-Eyes (v4.21 and later), HAL, Supernova, JAWS (v5.00.844 and later), Serotek System Access (v2.3.0.174 and later), and MAGic (v10.5 and later with speech option). For those with learning disabilities,  MathPlayer also works with Read & Write (v6, v8.1 and later) and Browsealoud, both from TextHelp.

If math accessibility is important to you, contact your screen reader vendor so that they will consider supporting some of the planned accessibility enhancements to MathPlayer.  Without your input, vendors may not make math accessibility a priority.

Some sample equations to speak

It is very common for textbooks and technical papers to embed snippets of math such as x 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaamiEamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaaaaa@37C3@ t 1 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaamiDamaaDaaaleaacaaIXaaabaaaaaaa@37BE@  or sin(θ) MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaci4CaiaacMgacaGGUbGaaiikaiabeI7aXjaacMcaaaa@3BC4@  inline. Even short equations and inequalities such as α 2 + β 2 1 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaeqySde2aaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaOGaey4kaSIaeqOSdi2aaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaOGaeyizImQaaGymaaaa@3E55@  are common. In fact, upwards of 90% of all math expressions in technical papers are short, inline expressions.

Here are some larger examples of display math:

Fraction example:

y 123 5α 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaaSaaaeaacaWG5baabaGaaGymaiaaikdacaaIZaaaaiabgsMiJoaalaaabaGaaGynaiabeg7aHbqaaiaaikdaaaaaaa@3DFE@

Superscript examples: a 2 (a+1) 3 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaamyyamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaakiaacIcacaWGHbGaey4kaSIaaGymaiaacMcadaahaaWcbeqaaiaaiodaaaaaaa@3C7C@ t n1 (t+1) n MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaamiDamaaCaaaleqabaGaamOBaiabgkHiTiaaigdaaaGccaGGOaGaamiDaiabgUcaRiaaigdacaGGPaWaaWbaaSqabeaacaWGUbaaaaaa@3EB7@ p MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGabmiCayaafaaaaa@36DE@

Sum and integral examples:

i=1 1 i 2 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaaabCaeaadaWcaaqaaiaaigdaaeaacaWGPbWaaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaaaaaeaacaWGPbGaeyypa0JaaGimaaqaaiabg6HiLcqdcqGHris5aaaa@3ED5@

0 2π xsinxdx MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaa8qmaeaacaWG4bGaci4CaiaacMgacaGGUbGaamiEaiaadsgacaWG4baaleaacaaIWaaabaGaaGOmaiabec8aWbqdcqGHRiI8aaaa@41F1@

Example of roots: x x1 n MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaaOaaaeaacaWG4baaleqaaOGaeyOeI0YaaOqaaeaacaWG4bGaeyOeI0IaaGymaaWcbaGaamOBaaaaaaa@3B9F@

Example of a table:    ( a 11 a 12 a 21 a 22 ) MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaaeWaaeaafaqabeGacaaabaGaamyyamaaBaaaleaacaaIXaGaaGPaVlaaigdaaeqaaaGcbaGaamyyamaaBaaaleaacaaIXaGaaGPaVlaaikdaaeqaaaGcbaGaamyyamaaBaaaleaacaaIYaGaaGPaVlaaigdaaeqaaaGcbaGaamyyamaaBaaaleaacaaIYaGaaGPaVlaaikdaaeqaaaaaaOGaayjkaiaawMcaaaaa@47ED@

This ambiguity test is one on which MathSpeak does poorly:

n+1 n +n+ 1 n +1 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaWaaSaaaeaacaWGUbGaey4kaSIaaGymaaqaaiaad6gaaaGaey4kaSIaamOBaiabgUcaRmaalaaabaGaaGymaaqaaiaad6gaaaGaey4kaSIaaGymaaaa@3F82@

A double angle formula:

cos(2x)= cos 2 x sin 2 x MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGceaabbeaaciGGJbGaai4BaiaacohacaGGOaGaaGOmaiaadIhacaGGPaGaeyypa0Jaci4yaiaac+gacaGGZbWaaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaOGaaiikaiaadIhacaGGPaGaeyOeI0Iaci4CaiaacMgacaGGUbWaaWbaaSqabeaacaaIYaaaaOGaaiikaiaadIhacaGGPaaabaGaeyypa0JaaGOmaiGacogacaGGVbGaai4CamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaakiaacIcacaWG4bGaaiykaiabgkHiTiaaigdaaeaacqGH9aqpcaaIXaGaeyOeI0IaaGOmaiGacohacaGGPbGaaiOBamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaakiaacIcacaWG4bGaaiykaaaaaa@5D0D@

And finally, no math page would be complete without the solution for the quadratic equation:

x= b b 2 4ac 2a MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafeart1ev1aqatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLnhiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr4rNCHbGeaGqiFu0Je9sqqrpepC0xbbL8F4rqqrFfpeea0xe9Lq=Jc9vqaqpepm0xbba9pwe9Q8fs0=yqaqpepae9pg0FirpepeKkFr0xfr=xfr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaGaamiEaiabg2da9maalaaabaGaeyOeI0IaamOyaiabgglaXoaakaaabaGaamOyamaaCaaaleqabaGaaGOmaaaakiabgkHiTiaaisdacaWGHbGaam4yaaWcbeaaaOqaaiaaikdacaWGHbaaaaaa@42CC@

All of these examples were written in Microsoft Word and MathType and exported to MathML using MathType’s “MathPage” technology. MathPage technology was added to MathType in version 5.0. No special work is needed to author the expressions to make them accessible. Any product that exports MathML will produce pages that MathPlayer can speak.

For a larger real life example, see this page.

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