VisioVoice makes VoiceOver multilingual

I was very excited when Apple introduced their screen reading technology VoiceOver in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). It isn’t perfect, but having a screen reader in every Mac is great, both for developers and users. A quick introduction to VoiceOver is available in VoiceOver and Safari: Screen reading on the Mac.

One of the major drawbacks of VoiceOver is that it is only available in English. It will of course read text in other languages, but in an American English accent. I’ve been using VoiceOver quite a bit on Swedish language sites, and while it is understandable most of the time, it is occasionally very difficult to understand what VoiceOver is trying to say. So it was great to learn that there will soon be a way to make VoiceOver multilingual: AssistiveWare announces VisioVoice® for Mac OS X, a multilingual companion for VoiceOver.

VisioVoice is commercial software and will not be a free download. That is still much better than having no multilingual support at all in VoiceOver. I can’t find any pricing information for VisioVoice, but AssistiveWare’s pricing seems quite reasonable.

VisioVoice is expected to ship in June. If you are interested in beta testing or influencing which languages will be supported, take the VisioVoice® survey.

Want to know what Swedish sounds like? Listen to what Emma has to say.

Thanks to David Svensson for making me aware of this, and for encouraging AssistiveWare to make their multilingual voices available for VoiceOver.

Posted on March 21, 2006 in Accessibility, Mac, Quicklinks


  1. Actually, VoiceOver has been multi-lingual from the beginning, it was the rest of MacOS X that wasn’t, since it only shipped with English voices. But you can get other voices (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, but not Swedish) from third parties like and set VoiceOver to use these.

  2. I remember there were even some efforts to prepare Czech voice for VoiceOver. It was based on Unix Czech speech synthesis from CVUT university if I’m not mistaken. Too bad it’s not finished yet.

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