Report on use of eSpeak Bengali with NVDA
NVDA team conducted a training programme at Turnstone Matruchaya, Siligudi, West Bengal from September 7 to 9, 2015. Fourteen delegates attended. Nirmal Verma was the language trainer.
Turnstone Matruchaya is an NGO working for the upliftment of Blind and other under privileged sections of the society. Located in midst of tea gardens, Turnstone Matruchaya had a perfect location for conducting a traning session.
The workshop was attended by 14 computer teachers and special educators for the blind. The participants came from Sikkim, Darjeling, various districts of West Bengal etc. The participants had some idea about NVDA, though support for indian languages was a new concept for them. There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for learning to read and write in Bengali and Hindi.
The workshop started with a round of introductions, where in each participant also spelt out his or her needs and expectations from the workshop. Most of them expressed the need for learning about an alternative screen reader, which would help them read and write in their vernacular language.
This was followed by understanding the benefits of NVDA in comparision to other screen readers. The participants were taken for a brief tour of the NVDA home page and explained the process of downloading the installer for NVDA.
A hands on demonstration was given about installation of NVDA, followed by the participants installing NVDA on their systems.
This was followed by introduction to the menus of NVDA, and their utility. Each participant was instructed to configure NVDA, as per their requirements. They were instructed to select a suitable voice variant and rate, and also make certain changes in the keyboard and mouce settings.
They were than given Bengali text to read. This text was taken from a Bengali daily newspaper. All the participants were very comfortable with the Espeak TTS, and were able to comprehend the text.
Day 2 started with introduction to the Bengali keyboard, followed by practice of typing words and sentences. The afternoon session was dedicated to writing practice, which was followed by a session on Bookshare as a source of accessible reading material.
Day 3 began with a revision session for Bengali keystrokes. This was followed by a session on using Espeak on Android. Various other features of the Android platform were also demonstrated during the session.
The afternoon session was dedicated to giving information about different schemes for the benefit of the Blind. The participants were informed about the ADIP scheme, Loan scheme of Saksham, E-card scheme of Railways etc.
The workshop ended with a feed back session. All the participants expressed their deep gratitude for the workshop and have promised to send their feedback on a regular basis.