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Speech Rule Engine Update

2018 February 28
by Volker Sorge

Editor’s Note: Back in the fall of 2016, the DIAGRAM Center shared our plans to support Volker Sorge’s work on the Speech Rule Engine in order to pave the way for more accessible voicing of mathematics. We are happy to announce that since the completion of our collaborative work, further progress has been made on this impactful open source project. The following is a reminder of what the tool is and an update from Volker regarding his latest accomplishments and goals:

Speech Rule Engine is an open source tool for the aural rendering of digital mathematics. While it was originally created as part of the ChromeVox screen reader, it has come a long way over the last couple of years as a standalone tool and independent project. Although it is still only a one-man open source project, the support of a number of not-for-profit and commercial organizations, such as the American Mathematics Society, the DIAGRAM Center, the Mozilla Foundation, TextHelp, and the Big10 Universities, allowed for a number of significant improvements. Recent advances include the smarter recognition and navigation of complex equation systems, improved interpretations of subject specific notations such as physics, and support for a variety of prosody markup languages. The latest release also contains a Spanish localization of the MathSpeak rules and uses some of the fastest JavaScript libraries currently available.

A number of exciting enhancements are scheduled for this year. The upcoming release (currently in beta), will contain a full implementation of the eagerly anticipated ClearSpeak rule set, which provides more natural-sounding mathematics. There are also plans for localization into additional languages and the integration of more subject-specific knowledge. And, finally, subsequent releases will include support for Nemeth Braille, which, together with its web integration into MathJax, will make Speech Rule Engine an even more complete package for supporting accessible, digital mathematics.

If you are interested in testing and providing feedback about any of the upcoming Speech Rule Engine releases, please contact Volker Sorge at volker[dot]Sorge[at]gmail[dot]com. Alternatively, to stay abreast of upcoming releases, look for updates on the speech-rule-engine github repo.

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