[espeak-ng:master] new issue: ' (quote) versus " (quotes) is almost impossible to audibly differentiate #github

espeak-ng@groups.io Integration <espeak-ng@...>

[espeak-ng:master] New Issue Created by spresse1:
#725 ' (quote) versus " (quotes) is almost impossible to audibly differentiate

Users of screen readers (eg: Orca, NVDA, JAWS) and other TTS assistive technologies rely on accurate and easy-to-understand reading of the text. One context in which this becomes especially critical is systems administration and software development, where TTS users need to be able to clearly and easily differentiate types of punctuation with minimal effort in the midst of reading a larger portion of text. For example, the two characters have significantly different meanings in shells and in some programming languages.

In English, eSpeak currently reads the single quote character (') as "quote" and the double quote character (") as "quotes". These two words are very difficult to differentiate, especially at the higher reading speeds often used by TTS users.

eSpeak-ng should read these two characters in a manner which makes them easy to differentiate.

There are three possibilities which come to mind:

  1. Read the single quote as "tick". This option keeps everything short and has a nice symmetry with the backtick (`) character. This behavior would also be consistent with other synthesizers, such as Nuance's Vocalizer and Windows OneCore Voices. However, "tick" is a colloquial name for this character and sometimes also refers to a check mark.
  2. Read the single quote as "apostrophe". This option is mostly correct and will create the requested reading clarity. However, "apostrophe" is a relatively long word and will slow down the reading. But apostrophe indicates a use of the single-quote character and is not the name of the character. This option would be consistent with Apple's VoiceOver.
  3. Read the double quote as "double quotes". Again, this option is longer than current ways of reading the characters, but will result in a correct reading of this punctuation under all circumstances. I'm not aware of any synthesizer or screen reader which uses this option.

I have spoken with one TTS assistive technology user who would prefer option 1. However, I don't have the depth of knowledge required to make this choice for all eSpeak-ng users. I'm happy to do all the work for this change (and will file a PR for option 1 shortly), but am opening this issue such that those with more experience can direct me on what the best version of this change is.