Fixing problems with speech

Symptoms

  • “It’s not reading anything any more!”
  • “I press Play and everything flashes really quickly in Word but no speech”
  • “I’ve installed a new piece of software and now ClaroRead/WordRead will not work”

Diagnosis

  • Make sure you can hear non-speech sound – try Windows Media Player, or go to YouTube, and play a CD or any sound. If you can’t, then you have to fix your sound first.
  • Download and run SAPI5Test.exe – none of the voices work.
  • Open Control Panel > “Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices”> “Speech”. The panel does not appear. Try Cure Number 2 first.
  • If it does appear, switch to one of the Microsoft voices (for example, Sam, Anna, or Hazel). Click the Preview button: no sound is produced, or an error message results. Try Cure Number 3 first.
  • 32-bit Windows machines only: If a Microsoft voice works, but some or all of the Claro voices (e.g. ScanSoft Daniel_Full_22kHz or Vocalizer Daniel) do not speak, then go to Cure Number 4.
  • 64-bit Windows machines: our Claro voices will not show up in the Speech dialog in Control Panel. However you can launch the 32-bit Control Panel window by downloading and running our Speech Control Panel program. Go straight to Cure Number 4.

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Reading Kindle books with speech

The Kindle for PC eBook program lets you view your Amazon Kindle books, but it does not allow ClaroRead to highlight and speak them like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word. You have two things you can do:

  1. With ClaroRead Plus or Pro, you can Scan from Screen to speak a particular page. Click on the Scan button on the ClaroRead toolbar and select Scan from Screen. Then draw the rectangle round the page in the Kindle for PC program, and wait until it is processed. Click Play to hear the page contents.
  2. Install the Kindle for PC Accessibility Plugin. This will read the current page aloud, without highlighting, using a male or female voice (not one provided by Claro). Control+R starts reading. This plugin will only work when a screenreader is installed, but ClaroRead fulfils this criterion and reading will work while ClaroRead is running.

Reading in Adobe Reader on Windows XP

On Windows XP you may find that ClaroRead does not play in Adobe Reader with highlighting. Disabling Protected Mode may fix this.

  • Opening Adobe Reader, open the Edit menu, and select the Preferences menu item.
  • From the Categories list at the left select “Security (Enhanced)”
  • Uncheck “Enable Protected Mode at startup” at the top.
  • Restart Adobe Reader and try reading with ClaroRead again.

(The setting is located at the bottom of the General tab on older pre-XI versions of Adobe Reader)

Using Microsoft XML tags with SAPI5 TTS voices

When you press the Play button ClaroRead or WordRead uses the same speech settings (voice, volume, speed) for all of the text it reads out. Everything will sound the same. You might, however, want to put in pauses, or make some text louder, or lower-pitched, or use a different voice halfway through. ClaroRead lets you use Microsoft’s XML Tags to do this. You can alter which voice is used, put in pauses, change pitch and speed and many other things as ClaroRead speaks. This works for both text read out and text saved to audio files.

Since writing this, Microsoft SAPI 5.2 and later versions have introduced support for the W3C standard Speech Synthesis Markup Language SSML so you may want to use that instead of the Microsoft-specific XML detailed here. The mechanisms to employ SSML (start with a < left-angled bracket) are the same, however.
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Reading with highlighting in Adobe Reader

ClaroRead 5.7 and later supports reading with highlighting (“click and play”) in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat.

  • For the best results update your Adobe Reader to the latest version. In Adobe Reader X and later reading works better and the bookmarks and headings sidebars read correctly.
  • If ClaroRead will not play in Adobe Reader then try performing a Repair on the Adobe Reader installation. Go to Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features, and click on Adobe Reader. Then click on the Change button at the top of the list of programs, and select Repair from the installation dialog. If this is too difficult, uninstalling and reinstalling Adobe Reader will do it but take longer.

Fixing broken or conflicting RealSpeak Solo voices

Nuance (previously ScanSoft) SAPI5 RealSpeak Solo voices must all be installed into the same directory on your machine. If this is not followed then the voices will appear in the Speech applet in Control Panel, or in your SAPI5 voice list in your speech-enabled program, but they will not work. This guide tells you how to fix all the RealSpeak voices on your machine.

You will need full admin rights on the local machine and you have to edit the registry.

1 Place all voice files in the same directory

You have to find all the voice files on your machine and move them all to the same directory. You can find them in these ways:

  1. Do a search on your hard disk(s) for a directory called “speech” which in turn contains the directories “components” and “rssolov4”.
  2. Perform the registry entry corrections in part 2 and take note of all the paths there.
  3. Check these locations (“Program Files” may be “Program Files (x86)” on 64-bit machines):
  4. (Read more…)

Acapela Voices

Claro provides many text-to-speech synthesised voices from Acapela, including many Swedish and Scandinavian voices (Matti, Elin, Erik, Ingmar etc.) They should be set up correctly by our latest installers, but if you are experiencing problems then you can try the suggestions below.

Note that the Acapela voices, although SAPI5-compliant, do not show up in the Speech applet in the Windows Control Panel. They only show up in Claro programs.

(Read more…)

Mac Support Downloads

  • Restore Settings (4.1 MB)
    • Allows you to to restore the settings of any Claro Software Mac application.
  • Claro Mac Voice Downloader (6.5 MB)
    • Allows you to install selected Claro Vocalizer Expressive Mac voices (used in ClaroRead V5.2 onwards). These voices will ONLY work with ClaroRead or WordRead Plus.
  • Claro Mac Voice Uninstaller (4.2 MB)
    • Allows you to uninstall any Claro Vocalizer Expressive Mac voices you have installed (used in ClaroRead V5.2 onwards).
  • Claro Mac License Checker (2.7 MB)
    • If one of our Mac programs is not working properly when you enter a license key, use this program on a support call so we can gather more information about the problem.