13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2013 4:15 AM by Sorbsbuster

    Text To Speech on iPad



      Text To Speech on iPad


           I have written a progam to help a friend who has MS, and cannot speak.  He uses it to type messages, build phrases, etc , and have them spoken for him.  It works perfectly on a laptop - the text-to-speech program is triggered when text is copied to the clipboard.

           I want to use the convenience of the iPad and its inbuilt text-to-speech functionality.  The problem is that it expects the user to highlight the text then select the option to 'Speak'.  That is a step too far for my friend - so my question is does anyone know a way to make the speech to automatically work without that extra confirmation step?

           I have tried using the 'Copy' script step (which works perfectly on a laptop), and I have tried 'Set Selection', and the text is selected with the shaded highlight and the handle-bars - but in fact even then the standard options of Copy, Speak, etc do not show up, so they can't even be selected.

           All ideas gratefully received.

        • 1. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

               If you turn on VoiceOver (Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver), text fields in FM Go are spoken when tapped.  However, there are some undesirable side effects.  For instance, you have to double tap objects to edit them.

               P.S. Set "Speak Hints" setting to Off.

          • 2. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                 Thanks for that, Jade - that side effect should be OK in this application, I think.  Will try that now.

            • 3. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                   Well, that was a frustrating half-hour.  Having practically locked myself out of the iPad I finally got the Settings page to scroll back up to allow me to change the settings back.

                   The screens in my FM file are all entirely button-driven, and unfortunately when VoiceOver is On no buttons work.  The iPad doesn't seem to be able to register a 'Single-tap' to select the button, and a 'double-tap' to trigger it.

                   I think what I'm trying to do is beyond the iPad: it is the equivalent of selecting the text, tapping the circle on the end of the selection box, and choosing 'Speak'.

                   Unfortunately the other apps I've looked at all need some equivalent interaction.  The application I have for the laptop is perfect - it reads anything in the clipboard.  It is a real shame that the iPad can't be made to work the same way; it would be perfect for this application.

                   Thanks for your help.

              • 4. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                     That is a shame and your project has merit.  Good Luck with it!

                     I found that VoiceOver does work with buttons in FM Go (one tap to select the button and then a rapid double tap to activate it).  Once in VoiceOver mode all icons and buttons on the iPad work this way.  Although I soon got used to it with practice, I do find it aggravating.

                • 5. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                       Thanks for your suggestions and help, Jade.  We are a commercial development company, but we are doing this free for all the obvious reasons.

                       When the user has poor motor control they try to land their finger on the button, often miss (slightly), and try to 'slide' their finger on to the right place.  Of course on an iPad that doesn't work - it just slides the whole screen.  So I really need the number of tap-attempts to be an absolute minimum.

                       Another frustration that I have (never mind the MS-inflicted user) is that I browse web pages, for example, on an iPad, and some have really small link buttons to click.  But I tap them, and they work perfectly.  But in my FMGo files I need to have 18pt+ text, or else I make a tap and it just says "Uh...?" back at me.  Even more frustrating is I can tap or touch, and the text box highlights to show I've clicked it, and... nothing.  I am now designing interfaces with the ugliest of 24pt + text to try and relive the frustration of my (business) users.  They too believe that it is the unresponsiveness of FMGo they are seeing whenever a button doesn't respond.

                       I think I have dents on my screen from my FM solution.

                       The whole text-to-speech program works really well on the laptop.  I originally wrote it with an iPad and FMGo in mind, but I had to give up and back-track.  I am really disappointed.

                       (BTW: the external program I used was from speakcomputers.com.  It is excellent.)

                  • 6. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                         I have been searching for a solution to your problem.  I don't know if this will help because it uses google to speak the text, so the user would need to have internet access.  Maybe it will give you some ideas.   I did a sample app using the web viewer.  fm12.



                    • 7. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                           Tried it on my PC - very clever, S Chamblee!  That looks like I can replace the action triggered by the 'Copy' in my laptop version.

                           Thanks very much for your insipiration - I'll try it on the iPad a little later today.

                      • 8. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                             Used your trick on my laptop file - works perfectly.  (The voice intonation isn't as good as the other program, but that's trivial).

                             Downloaded FMGo12 and installed it on the iPad - but my file doesn't work.

                             Copied your file across (which works perfectly on my laptop, of course), and the web viewer hangs with 'Streaming...'

                             I'm wondering if the URL knows that the request is from an iOS and needs to be modified to reflect that.  Can you post a link to any google documentation about the page?  I'll research it myself, of course, but if you already know where I can get the set-up information that would be great.

                             Thanks again.

                        • 9. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                               Wonder if it's the lack of Flash player?

                          • 10. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                                 I didn't find any documentation.   I tried on my iphone and works, I will test on my iPad and let you know.  (I assumed it would work on the iPad).  I don't recall installing Flash on my iPhone.

                            • 11. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                                   How did you find the syntax for that URL?  I've tried playing with the components of it, and I can change the voice from English to French and Germanic (though can't make it translate, unfortunately...) but I can't find a lead into how the syntax of the URL is built up.

                                   Just to clarify: that is all on my PC.  Still can't make it work on the iPad.  It is so tantalisingly close.

                              • 12. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                                     I googled text to speech and found that url.  I will have to find it again and post back here.   I'm having the same problem on my iPad.  It will speak about two words then freeze.  I tested on my iPhone and it doesn't freeze.  On my iPhone when it speaks it pops up a Quicktime Logo and this doesn't popup on my iPad.  Just black bar states streaming.   I've been trying to figure this problem out.  I have several things going on but I will let you know if I find out anything new.  I'll try to find that web page that I found that url and post.

                                • 13. Re: Text To Speech on iPad

                                       One limitation of the google translate is it is limited to 100 characters (though a script could break it up and send several requests, of course.)

                                       This looks like a possibility:


                                       I have asked them for an API Key.

                                       --------- Update ---------

                                       @ S Chamblee I copied-and-modified your webviewer to be:

                                       "http://api.ispeech.org/api/rest?apikey=developerdemokeydeveloperdemokey&action=convert&voice=usenglishfemale&text=" &

                                       Substitute ( theText ; " "; "+")

                                       and it works perfectly on the PC.  But the iPad just freezes with 'Streaming...' again.  Yet another example of how an iPad contrives to just get in the way.