W3C Drafts a Specification for Spoken Presentation in HTML

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group has published a frst public working draft of its Specification for Spoken Presentation in HTML from the Pronunciation Task Force.

This document is part of W3C work on pronunciation to provide guidance so that text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis can properly pronounce HTML content.

The organization noted that TTS has long been used by screen readers and other assistive technologies for people with disabilities and in popular applications like voice assistants. Yet today there is no way for content creators to mark up HTML content that will correctly and consistently present TTS-generated output across all commonly used TTS engines and operating environments. This specification is intended to fill this critical gap.

This First Public Working Draft specification describes two possible technical approaches for author-controlled pronunciation of HTML content, using Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).

The group says either approach will satisfy its accessibility requirements, but it is seeking to establish a widely applicable approach. W3C is therefore seeking more input on these approaches, particularly from content authors and implementors who would convert the authoring techniques described into aural presentation. It is hoping to have input from developers and other interested parties before June 18.

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