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Re: Is it possible to change the spoken language?



So far as I am aware, Emacspeak doesn't yet provide direct support for the
multilingual capabilities of speech synthesizers. I may be wrong, however.
Of course, a command to switch languages could easily be introduced, but
this wouldn't solve the entire problem. If more than one language is being
used in a document, then the software must be able to distinguish them.
This can be achieved by including appropriate markup in the text, for
example in XML or HTML document instances. Incidentally, the W3C/WAI Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 require this kind of markup in
documents where phrases or passages from a different language are included
as part of the text. The identification of the "principal language" in
which a text is written, can be much more responsive to the user's
choices, the character set disclosed by the file (or the communication
protocol), etc.

For best results, the web user agent needs to cooperate with the speech
software so that language-identifying markup in the document will induce
the application of the correct text to speech rules when the text is read.

All of this is entirely feasible. Automatic language identification is
possible, though as I understand it, this is much harder to accomplish
accurately when two or more languages appear in the same document (or the
same sentence); obviously it depends on the nature of the specific
languages involved. Certainly this identification is more easily carried
out at the author's end, preferably via a largely automatic process
(grammatical analysis, dictionary look-up), supplemented by authorial
intervention where needed (perhaps one could construct a system similar to
a spelling checker to do this, where the author hasn't included the
language markup in writing the document).



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