MathPlayer Can Speak!
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.
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
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.
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.
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 (v22.214.171.124 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.
It is very common for textbooks and technical papers to embed snippets of
math such as
inline. Even short equations and inequalities such as
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:
Sum and integral examples:
Example of roots:
Example of a table:
This ambiguity test is one on which MathSpeak does poorly:
A double angle formula:
And finally, no math page would be complete without the
solution for the quadratic equation:
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