Acapela Empowers Dolphin Easy Reader
One month after Microsoft’s launch of its free 'Save as DAISY XML' plug-in for Word (read the story here), Dolphin Computer Access released the first DAISY player, speech-enabled by Acapela, to support the DAISY digital talking book format created.
The DAISY player, EasyReader version 3, not only supports digital talking book output, but also reads aloud the DAISY material while synchronizing the words. Already available in 15 languages, EasyReader now comes bundled with Acapela's speech synthesisers, ensuring readers can listen to their own DAISY materials in their language of choice.
"The 'Save as DAISY' option allows Word users to generate Daisy XML files, not full Daisy books," Ron Stewart, vice president of Dolphin Computer Access, said in a statement. "However, the Daisy XML file is one part of the technology that goes into making even a simple text- only Daisy book."
"EasyReader, supporting the DAISY XML files created by Word and read by Acapela, is another major step in the DAISY roadmap," said Lars Erik Larsson, Acapela’s Group CEO.
According to Larsson, the partnership between Acapela and Dolphin Computer Access will ensure the continued growth and success of the DAISY format. He notes that both organizations, together with Microsoft, "are committed to providing equal access to the written word for the benefit of the wider accessibility community."
In its own statement, Microsoft's Accessibility Business Unit said the latest developments "create a really exciting opportunity for visually impaired and print-impaired people, giving them the ability to easily create, read, and listen to their own fully synchronized DAISY materials." Dan Hubbell, the business unit's technical evangelist, says Microsoft’s 'Save as DAISY XML' Plug-in and EasyReader are a powerful combination that will enable the rich DAISY experience to be brought to even more readers worldwide."
More than 160 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired. Of those, about 500,000 currently use DAISY Players, according to George Kerscher, secretary general of the DAISY Consortium, a worldwide organization dedicated to developing and promoting the DAISY format.