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Multiple Language Support in the DAISY System

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"Towards a New Generation of Books for the Blind"

Ce texte est tiré des actes du Colloque international sur les nouvelles technologies du livre adapté (1er : 1997 : Salon du livre de Montréal). Vers une nouvelle génération de livres pour les personnes aveugles : [textes des conférenciers] / Premier colloque international sur les nouvelles technologies du livre adapté ; Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille en collab. avec le Forum des pays francophones de l'Union Mondiale des Aveugles. -- Longueuil : Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille ; Longueuil : Union mondiale des aveugles, Forum des pays francophones, 1998.

International Conference, Friday 21 November 1997, Montreal
organized by Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille et le Forum des Pays Francophones de L'union Mondiale des Aveugles

in collaboration with The Forum of French-speaking Countries of the World Blind Union

George Kerscher, Project Manager for the DAISY Consortium



The DAISY Consortium is developing the standard throughout the world for the next generation of information for persons with print disabilities. The standard is designed to be truly international and support any language with any type of information. Libraries for the blind and print disabled, or other organizations providing information to print disabled persons, are encouraged to use the DAISY system. Blind and print disabled individuals will use the playback devices and browser software developed through the assistance of the DAISY Consortium.

The DAISY Consortium encourages hardware and software developers to build products that assist persons with disabilities to access information. The DAISY Consortium also encourages the development of hardware and software tools that will assist producers of information to create books and other types of information that conform to the DAISY standard.

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Hardware, software, and guidelines developed through the DAISY Consortium's sphere of influence will support virtually every language in the world. This is accomplished through the following mechanisms:

  1. The computer file specifications are based on existing international standards.
  2. Structure and Textual information will be provided to end users in HTML 4.0. This specification is the first implementation of HTML that supports virtually all languages.
  3. Sound recordings will be distributed using commonly available types.
  4. Synchronization of structural navigation markers, and textual information will be specified using the "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language" (SMIL specified by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
  5. Playback hardware and documentation will be localized for the language of the country. This means it should be easy to add a new language to the hardware.
  6. The browser software component will be localized for the new language of the region. There must be a speech synthesizer for this support to be possible. In addition to the synthesizer availability, a local language support kit must also be provided.
  7. Producers of books use recording software that has been localized. This means it will be easy to add a new language to the recording software using the local language support kit.

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NOTE: For illustrative purposes I will use French as the new language to be added, but this process applies to any language that is planned for support in the DAISY System.

  • - French-speaking individuals from DAISY Consortium member organizations should become involved in appropriate committees and work teams of the Consortium. The training and technical support work teams will be very important.
  • - A work team of the DAISY Consortium should be authorized to translate the DAISY system to French.
  • - A work team of French-speaking experts should be gathered. The translation of many items in the DAISY system will be from English to French, therefore, there should be some expertise on the team to address the complexity of translation from English documents to French documents. While there is no software development required, it will be most helpful if there are one or two very technical people on the work team.
  • - Several French-speaking people with good voices should be identified for recording materials.
  • - Local language support kits will be provided to the work team. The local language kits are provided by: Plextor, Productivity Works, and by Labyrinten. NOTE: More local language support kits will be available as new software and hardware becomes available.

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The local language support kits will be available for the first release of the professional edition from Plextor, Productivity Works, and Labyrinten. Each kit will contain instructions on how to use the kit provided by the producer.


PlexTalk (Player memory modification)

  1. Plextor provides a written list of messages in English. The guidance message document needs to be translated from English to French.
  2. Record all messages to DAT (Digital Audio Tape). Follow the order in the message document.
  3. Send translation document and DAT tape to Plextor.
  4. Plextor will create the guidance message installation CD.
  5. Insert this CD into Plextalk. The new language messages will then be copied and stored in the Plextalk player. All messages and help will then be in French.

Plextalk documentation

  1. Translate Operation manual from English to French.
  2. Record operation manual in the DAISY system.
  3. Duplicate manual and recording for inclusion with PlexTalk distribution.

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The Professional Recording System by Labyrinten consists of the recording software and utilities that support the production of new recordings and conversion of existing analog recordings into the DAISY system. This is a complete software package. To enable the software for French:

  1. Translate from English to French all messages in the "resource" file. The resource file contains: menu items, visual buttons, captions, labels, spoken messages, and message elements. Message elements are things like: numbers, punctuation, alphabetic letters, etc.
  2. Translate the help file.
  3. Record any of the spoken messages to a digital form.
  4. Translate the User documentation from English to French.
  5. Translate installation screens.
  6. Send all information to Labyrinten to build the new language installation program.
  7. The new installation CD can then be provided.

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The DAISY web browser and study station is a fully functioning self-voicing web browser that is optimized for use with information that conforms to the DAISY standard. The browser can also be used to read any web page on the Internet. (NOTE: Many web pages are not user friendly. The DAISY Consortium participates in the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to encourage more accessible web sites.)

To enable the DAISY browser for French:

  1. Identify French synthesizer(s) that conform to the SSIL or the SAPI specification. Provide copy of the synthesizer to Productivity Works for testing.
  2. Translate from English to French all messages in the "resource" file. The resource file contains: menu items, visual buttons, captions, labels, spoken messages, and message elements. Message elements are things like: numbers, punctuation, alphabetic letters, etc.
  3. Translate the help files.
  4. Record messages in French into a digital form.
  5. Translate the Audio Cascading Style Sheets.
  6. Translate the installation screens.
  7. Send to Productivity works the materials. They will create the installation program.
  8. The localized CD can then be provided.

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The DAISY work team enabling the French version will need to test all products. Any problems detected in the hardware or software should be documented and provided to the manufacturers. This is done through the established standard operating procedures for reporting bugs and performance issues. Two DAISY Consortium work teams are devoted to testing. There is a recording testing work team for the production components used to create books, and there is a browser testing work team for testing the hardware and software for blind and print disabled use.

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The DAISY Consortium conducts training sessions on a regular basis. Representatives from the French-speaking organizations of the Consortium will want to attend one or more of these training sessions. The concept behind these training session is "train the trainer." Each person is provided a copy of the training materials. These training materials can be translated to French and used in training sessions conducted by the member organization.

Ongoing training and technical support is provided to address issues that come up as a regular part of the production and end user support process. There are two DAISY work teams for training and tech support. One team is for producers and the other is for users.

It is advisable that French-speaking representatives participate on the working teams for training and technical support. It is through these work teams that additional requirements will be gathered for future enhancements.

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