Vocalizer for NVDA User Guide

Tiflotecnia, Lda.

August 2013

1 Introduction

Vocalizer for NVDA 3.0 comprises the Nuance Vocalizer Expressive speech synthesizer, packaged and licensed for exclusive use in conjunction with the NVDA screen Reader (Nonvisual Desktop Access).

Nuance Vocalizer Expressive is a modern, natural-sounding and responsive speech synthesizer developed by Nuance Communications, inc.. It speaks over 40 different languages from all over the world, comprising about 70 different voices in total. Each Nuance Vocalizer Expressive Voice comes in many variants, from "compact", which has small size and footprint, into "Premium High", which gives you the best voice quality available, with larger sizes and footprint.

NVDA - Nonvisual Desktop Access is a free and Open Source screen reader for Microsoft Windows, developed by NV Access LTD and a vibrant community of users and developers from all over the world. NVDA supports the majority of common applications such as web browsers, office suits and e-mail clients (among others) and can be used with a variety of speech synthesizers and braille displays. NVDA supports versions of Windows from XP onwards, either in 32 or 64 bit architectures.

for each purchase of Vocalizer for NVDA, at least €10 are donated to NV Access, ltd. to contribute to further NVDA development and support.

1.1 Features

The Vocalizer for NVDA product contains a custom NVDA speech driver, allowing you to use the synthesizer directly from the screen reader, leveraging all the synthesizer performance and capabilities. Further more, you can install all the available voices and variants and use them in conjunction with the driver.

Some of the driver features are the following:

2 Requirements and Assumptions

To use Vocalizer for NVDA 3.0, you will need to be running NVDA version 2013.1 or greater. Running the latest NVDA stable version is always recommended. You can download the latest version of NVDA from NVDA's downloads page or update directly from NVDA's help menu.

At least 1GB of memory is recommended to successfully run the synthesizer.

Depending on how many voices you wish to install, you will need sufficient free space on your hard disk or portable storage device.

On Windows XP systems it is sometimes necessary to install the Microsoft Visual Studio redistributable package, to run Nuance Vocalizer. Download it here.

This User Guide assumes that you, the user, have basic familiarity with the NVDA screen reader and the Windows Operating system. It is strongly recommended that you check the extensive NVDA User Guide to get the most effective experience from this screen reader. The manual is also available under NVDA's Help menu. The NVDA Documentation Resources Page contains even more information and the NVDA support Page lists others ways of getting support for NVDA.

For specific Vocalizer for NVDA support you are always welcome to contact Tiflotecnia, Lda. or your local dealer.

The latest documentation is always accessible from http://vocalizer-nvda.com/documentation

3 Before you Begin

Before you begin downloading and installing Vocalizer for NVDA, you must purchase a license for the product, register yourself on the Vocalizer for NVDA web Site, and associate the purchased license with your account. To do so:

  1. Purchase a license from one of our dealers or from our online store. Check this page to buy Vocalizer for NVDA. After your purchase is complete you will be given an activation code you must take note of.
  2. Sign up on the Vocalizer for NVDA web site, if you haven't done so. Follow this link to create an account on vocalizer for NVDA. You will need to provide your name, country, a valid email address and password. This data will be used to identify yourself on the Vocalizer for NVDA web site and in NVDA itself, to enable the Vocalizer for NVDA synthesizer.
  3. After successful account creation, you must login into the vocalizer for NVDA web site. You will be then prompted for your license activation code. You must enter that code to associate the license you purchased with your personal account.
  4. You are done and may now proceed to Download and Install Vocalizer for NVDA.

Important note: In the case of some dealers, Vocalizer for NVDA may be provided to you on a portable device, already installed and properly configured. In this situation, you may still want to create an account on the Vocalizer for NVDA web site (see step #2), and associate your license with that account (see step #3). The activation code mentioned in step #1 can be found by viewing your license information, in the username field. For your convenience, the Vocalizer for NVDA driver provides a menu option to register these licenses with an account, from NVDA itself (see Register License section bellow).

If you have any problems or questions, or if you want to try out the product before you buy it, please contact Tiflotecnia, Lda or your local Vocalizer for NvDA dealer.

4 Download and Installation

To use Vocalizer for NVDA, you need two components, further from NVDA itself: the Vocalizer driver and at least one voice. The downloads page contains the latest driver version and all the voices you can download. Download the driver and voices you want to install. You can always download and install more voices at any time, if you wish.

Both the driver and voices are bundled as NVDA add-on packages you must install on your NVDA copy. To install any of them, you can do one of the following:

  1. If you are running an installed copy of NVDA, you can open the various add-on packages directly from windows explorer or the browser, and follow the instructions provided by NVDA.
  2. Otherwise you can use the add-on manager. Go to the NVDA menu (press NVDA+n), then tols, and then select Manage Add-ons. Being there, you must press the install button and select the add-on package you want to install.

Don't forget to install both the driver and voice add-ons. To check if the installation is functional, you can go to the NVDA menu (press NVDA+n) and check if the Vocalizer Expressive menu appears bellow the tools menu. If so, Vocalizer for NVDA is correctly installed.

After you have the driver installed and at least one voice, you may proceed to enable your license.

5 License Activation

The last step you must complete is to enable your license for your NVDA copy. Go to the NVDA menu (press NVDA+n) > vocalizer Expressive and select Activate License from there.

You will be prompted for your Vocalizer for NVDA credentials. These are the email and password you provided when signed up for the Vocalizer for NVDA platform.

Enter the credentials and press Ok, then communication with the Vocalizer for NVDA server will be established. You will be informed about how many activations you have left and asked to confirm if you want to activate your Vocalizer for NVDA license on the currently running NVDA. If you have no activations left, you would be told so and won't be able to proceed.

After confirming the activation, the process will continue and, when finished, you will be told of its conclusion. NVDA will restart itself and you may now t configure and use the synthesizer.

Note that when you purchase a license you will be provided with 3 activations, which means you can activate Vocalizer for NVDA in three different devices, either desktop/laptop computers or portable storage devices. You may remove an activation at any time and your activation count will be restored later on. In case of technical problems or lost activations, you can request Tiflotecnia, Lda. or your dealer to restore some of your activations.

If you enable your license on an installed copy of NVDA, you will be also able to use Vocalizer for NVDA in portable or temporary copies, running on the same computer. This way, you may use Vocalizer for NVDA to try out new NVDA versions, or when upgrading/reinstalling NVDA. However, if you generate a portable copy and run it on another computer, you must enable your license for that copy.

6 Basic Configuration

After installation is complete, and the license is successfully enabled, you can now select Nuance Vocalizer Expressive from the synthesizers that are available to NVDA.

Open the Synthesizers Settings Dialog (press NVDA+shift+s) and choose Nuance Vocalizer Expressive 1.1 from the synthesizer list, pressing the Ok button to confirm.

To set the synthesizer voice and parameters such as variant, volume, rate, or pitch (among others), please open the Voice Settings Dialog (press NVDA+shift+v). Automatic language switching and automatic dialect switching are supported by the Nuance Vocalizer Expressive driver, if suitable voices are installed (for instance, you will need a spanish voice for spanish text to be read correctly). Spelling is also available.

7 Additional Options

Further from general NVDA settings, available to other synthesizers, Vocalizer for NVDA comes with some additional options for specific configuration and user convenience. You may find them under NVDA menu > Vocalizer Expressive

7.1 Automatic Language Switching Settings

This dialog presents some additional options to configure the way the automatic language switching functionality will work when using Vocalizer.

The first dialog option is a list of locales (languages), which contains all the languages Vocalizer for NVDA can speak. The list will be restricted to the languages the currently installed voices are capable of speaking.

It is possible that, for each language, a general language name and some specific regional dialects are shown. For instance, if you have both an american english and a british english voice installed, you will be presented with "English", "english (United States)" and "English (Great Britain)". Select the locale and, on the second list, you can select what voice is to be used when speaking text on the chosen language.

Be aware that automatic language switching can only be used accurately when text content is properly marked, e.g. when a web page contains proper language tagging or a Microsoft Word document was marked with the necessary information.

The last option on the dialog is the detect text language based on unicode characters check box. Enabling this experimental feature, makes the driver guess the text language based on the characters present on that content. For instance, if the text contains greek letters and you have a greek voice installed, Vocalizer will use that voice to speak that content.

7.2 Activate License

When the license is not yet activated, this option allows you to activate it. The activation procedure was described above.

7.3 License Options

This menu contains various options pertaining to your Vocalizer for NVDA license and activation, described bellow. The menu only appears when a Vocalizer for NVDA license is enabled.

7.3.1 View License Information

This option presents you with a dialog containing information about the currently active license, such as user name, email, dealer and activation number.

7.3.2 Check Activation Count

This option allows you to check your current Vocalizer for NVDA activation count. This means, how many activations you have left to use on other computers or portable devices. This check requires internet access.

7.3.3 Delete Activation

With this option you can delete the Vocalizer for NVDA license activation from. Some time after successful removal, your activation count will be increased. You will be notified by email when your deleted activation is available.

7.3.4 Register License

Some dealers may provide you a portable copy of NVDA, properly licensed for Vocalizer for NVDA and already configured. These licenses are not associated with a specific Vocalizer for NVDA account.

This option allows you to register the running license with your vocalizer for NVDA account.

Entering this option, you will be prompted for your Vocalizer for NVDA credentials (email and password) if they aren't already set. The process will then continue, and, on successful registration, you will be told so and NVDA will be restarted.

Important note: we strongly recommend you create an Vocalizer for NVDA account and associate your license with it. By registering, you will be able to activate Vocalizer for NVDA in three different computers or portable devices.

7.4 Change Account Credentials

This option allows you to change the Vocalizer for NVDA credentials used to validate your activation. If you change your credentials (either email our password) on the Vocalizer for NVDA web site, you must change them accordingly on this dialog.

Note that these credentials are used to regularly validate your Vocalizer for NVDA license activation and run the synthesizer.

7.5 Download more Voices

This option opens the Vocalizer for NVDA downloads page on your web browser, where you can download more voices and install them.

7.6 About Nuance Vocalizer for NVDA

This option presents you with a dialog containing legal and authorship information about the Vocalizer for NVDA product.