If you have no problems using your hands and your eyes, surfing websites is a breeze and you’ll be able to read and navigate it easily. However there are people out there living with disabilities that makes it hard to navigate websites, which is why Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology has recently announced that they are planning to develop a speech engine of their own.
The development of the engine will be optimized for Wikipedia, and according to the announcement, they estimate that 25% of their user base will benefit from this feature immensely as it will help with users who have reading or visual impairments.Unsurprisingly given the collaboration with a Swedish institution, the initial development will be focused on the Swedish language, according to KTH speech technology professor Joakim Gustafson. He adds, “Then we will do a basic English voice, which we expect to be quite good, given the large amount of open source linguistic resources. And finally, we will do a rudimentary Arabic voice that will be more a proof of concept.”
Wikipedia is aiming to have English, Swedish, and Arabic ready by the end of the year, before moving onto the 280 languages that the site currently supports.