Development Laboratory, IIT Madras is pleased to offer the software
discussed in this page, for use by the visually handicapped in India. The software is likely to be
of help in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh. All the
programs mentioned here are meant for use on computers running Microsoft
Windows or Linux operating systems. A sound card with appropriate drivers
is assumed to be present in the computer.
Please note that the software has been designed for specific
use in the developing countries where the help of a sighted friend
is likely to be available for a visually handicapped person. We have not
packaged the software in any form that would allow visually handicapped persons
to download and install the same all by themselves.
on the part of IIT Madras to offer the software free and the desire on the
part of many sighted volunteers to help their handicapped friends, has created
a congenial atmosphere for the software to be distributed easily in spite
of the manual effort involved.
us to adopt this method. For those who are reading this page and residing
outside India, our request is, please get a sighted friend to help you install
the software. Perhaps at some future date we would be in a position to package
it well enough to allow installation with greater ease.
In India, the software is also made available to
the visually handicapped through volunteers, organizations and institutions
for persons with visual disabilities. Please check with IIT Madras for a
list of Institutions where persons have been trained in the use of the software.
Contact information is provided at the bottom of this page.
Vidya Vrikshah, a voluntary organization
in the city of Chennai (Madras) conducts free programs each month to provide
training in the use of the software. Vidya Vrikshah has set up volunteer
groups in other cities as well. A number of persons have been trained in
the use of the Software.
If you are a sighted person and would like to help
visually handicapped friends, please download and test out the software and
share the same with others. If you would like to start a volunteer group
yourself, please get in touch with Vidya Vrikshah.
Enhanced Multilingual Editor is a product totally conceived, designed and
built at IIT Madras. IIT Madras holds the copyright on this product. All
the other software has been assembled at IIT from various applications that
are freely distributed on the net. IIT Madras does not claim any copyright
on these and users are free to deal with the software in their own way but
should comply with the license agreements stipulated by the original designers.
This applies to Lynx, Pine and Mbrola as well as the freely given Jaws for
Dos by Henter and Joyce.
1. Sound Enhanced Multilingual Editor.
enhanced multilingual editor is perhaps the most sought after package by
the Visually handicapped persons in India. It is unique in many ways and
is one of the easiest to use. The editor allows documents to be prepared
in all the Indian languages. The package uses the freely available MBROLA
speech synthesizer. The total size of the editor package is in excess of
forty Megabytes. Downloading the same from the IITM web site will not be
easy due to the limited bandwidth available on the internet link (64 Kb).
Also, visually handicapped persons will require help from a sighted volunteer
who is already familiar with the application in getting the software installed
on their systems.
enhanced Multilingual Editor may be used by visually handicapped persons
to prepare documents in all the Indian languages as well as English. the
editor may also be used as a minimal screen reader to speak out text already
prepared using the Editor or some other utility included in the IITM Software
For the above
mentioned reason, the editor is usually distributed through volunteer organizations
where persons already trained in the use and installation of the editor provide
help for those desiring to become familiar with the software. Please get
in touch with the development team at IIT Madras for information about contact
persons in different parts of India. Please get
in touch with the lab for additional details.
A short video presentation on the editor
is available. This is a file in the Real media (Video) format. The video
runs approximately for 3 minutes and shows the operation of the multilingual
editor with screen reading features.
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2. Sound Enhanced Lynx
may be used by the visually handicapped to browse the web and hear the contents
of web pages. If the web pages are prepared according to the guidelines specified
by the IITM software, then Indian language text will also be spoken.
is based on the text based web browser Lynx, popular with the Visually Handicapped.
Screen reading features have been added to the application so that the application
can run as a stand alone Web Browser. One has the advantage that this browse
will also be able to speak out text in Indian languages. Such text is displayed
on the page in Roman transliterated format but special tags enclosing the
text identify the same as being in local language.
sound enhanced Lynx also uses the MBROLA speech synthesizer effectively for
multilingual speech output. It is necessary to have MBROLA installed on a
system before Selynx can work.
been made available for Linux as well as Microsoft Windows platforms. An
page describes the application.
A short video presentation on the use of
this Browser is available. The file is in the Real media Video format.
The video runs for approximately 4 minutes and shows the browser in operation.
You can download
the application from our site. If you are interested in developing the application
further, source code is also made available.
Downloading and installation
instructions are provided in the downloads
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3. Interface program for use with Jaws for Dos
interface, has been contributed by the IITM design team to allow visually
handicapped persons in developing countries to learn to use computers in
the text mode and run several useful applications such as document preparation,
reading e-books in text mode etc.
Jaws for Dos
is the first generation screen reader from Henter and Joyce and is still
useful as an application for training people. It requires the use of an external
speech synthesizer. In the developing world, it is perhaps easier to get a
PC than an external synthesizer. What the IIT Madras team has done is to
provide a suitable interface program to substitute the computer's sound interface
for the external synthesizer so that the application could work on a Windows
machine or a Linux system.
interface uses MBROLA as the speech engine. Mbrola is required to be available
in the system before the application can work. Mbrola is available for free
interface is explained in a separate page.
A short video presentation on the use of
Jaws for Dos is available. The file is in the Real Media format
(rm). The video runs for about three and a half minutes and shows the features
of this application.
You can download
the interface program from our site. If you are interested in developing
the application further, source code is also made available. Downloading
and installation instructions are provided in the download page.
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4. Utility to generate documents in Braille
has made available a useful utility to generate Braille output from a Multilingual
document prepared using the IITM editor. This utility is called llf2brl.exe
and will run as an application in text mode. This utility may be used to produce
text books and other publications in Bharati Braille and get the same embossed
on a standard Braille embosser.
utility runs from the command line under Windows or Linux and will convert
a document prepared using the IITM software into appropriate Braille equivalent
for local language as well as English. Features are provided to selectively
translate English text into Grade-1 or Grade-2 Braille. The utility works
in conjunction with "nfbtrans" which is used for formatting the file, consistent
with embossing requirements.
that you will require nfbtrans.exe
to get the output of llf2brl embossed on a Braille embosser. "nfbtrans"
is a very useful application (freely distributed) for printing standard English
text on Braille Embossers. The application is also capable of applying contraction
rules to the text thus producing Grade-2 Braille output. nfbtrans in used
along with the llf2brl utility to get the output formatted properly as also
selectively allow Grade-1 or Grade-2 translation of English text. The web
page for llf2brl has
all the details.
produced by llf2brl may be proof-read if necessary using the braille fonts
in any standard Word processor (Word, Wordpad under Windows). Any standard
text editor may also be used for proof reading if one is able to relate Braille
cells to their equivalent ASCII as per the Computer Braille standard. One
might also be able to effect some additional formatting before actually getting
the printout in Braille. Please refer to the appropriate section in these
pages on using llf2brl.
An on-line demo illustrating the use
of the application for Bharati Braille as well as standard English Braille
is available at this site.
5. Utility to speak out the contents
of a local language file (llf2spch)
Often it is useful
to be able to read out the contents of a text file, typically one containing
school or college lessons. The llf2spch utility can be used to read out the
text which can be multilingual text including English. The llf2spch utility
has useful navigational facilities so that portions of a file can be skipped,
reread etc.. The llf2spch utility may be run under Linux as well as Windows.
The llf2spch page describes