Making math accessible through synthetic speech
The standard way of communicating mathematical information is by using a distinct notational language rather than the "plain English" found in most literature. The notational language of mathematics combines a broad array of numbers, Roman and Greek alphabetic characters, and a host of other non-alphanumeric symbols with precise meanings which may change depending upon the math discipline and the context in which the symbols are used.
A. Formula for the volume of a sphere:
In addition, the typographical convention of math notation uses a two-dimensional layout where much of the meaning of an expression is implicit based upon the spatial position of one symbol in relation to another.
A. Implied multiplication: the meaning of the expression includes the implied multiplication of three times the variable x plus three times the variable y.
A. Formula for Standard Deviation
could mean "the absolute value of x", while could mean "the cardinality of the set X"
The ability to provide effective text-to-speech for mathematics content has increased steadily over the past decade, due largely to the development and support of Mathematical Markup Language (MathML), which provides a standard, open-source method to encode math notation within digital content in such a way that synthetic speech engines can automatically generate math speech. However, many people in academic and professional settings are unfamiliar with the concept of math text-to-speech. The aim of this section of the MeTRC website, therefore, is to provide an introduction to computer-generated math speech and to discuss the issues which are related to making math accessible through synthetic speech.
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