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Technique G79:Providing a spoken version of the text


Technologies that support links, audio formats.

This technique relates to 3.1.5: Reading Level (Sufficient).


Some users who have difficulty sounding out (decoding) words in written text find it very helpful to hear the text read aloud. This service can now be provided easily using either recorded human speech or synthetic speech. For example, there are a number of products that authors can use to convert text to synthetic speech, then save the spoken version as an audio file. A link to the spoken version can then be provided within the content. Cost depends in part on the quality of the voice used and whether the text is likely to change frequently.

  • Spoken versions of short texts and static text content

    This method is effective for small amounts of text and for longer documents that do not change often.

    1. Make a recording of someone reading the text aloud, or use a tool that converts individual documents or selected passages into synthetic speech. Choose the clearest, most attractive voice if a choice is available.
    2. Save the spoken version as an audio file. Use an audio format that is widely available and supported by media players.
    3. Provide a link to the audio version.
    4. Identify the audio format (for example, .MP3, .WAV, .AU, etc.).
    5. Provide a link to a media player that supports the format.
  • Spoken versions of text that changes

    Server-based methods may be best when pages change often or when user choice determines text content. Some server-based tools allow users to select any text they are interested in and listen to it. Typically, the user presses a button which starts the text-to-speech conversion and reads the text aloud.


Example 1: A Web site for a government agency

The Web site for a municipal housing authority has a button on every page labeled "Read this page aloud." The user selects the button and the page is spoken by a synthetic voice.



  1. Check if a spoken version of the content is available.

Expected Results

  • Check #1 is true.
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