Internationalizing Screen readers.

Jeffery Mewtamer mewtamer at
Fri Nov 4 02:24:48 UTC 2016

English is the only language I'm fluent in, and among the languages I
know more than a few words of, many of those words have been imported
into English anyways, but I still come across enough non-Latin text
for short comings in internationalization to be annoying.

In graphical mode on my desktop, I use Orca(do there even exist
graphical screen readers for Linux other than Orca), and it handles
non-English Latin text well enough, but for some non-Latin character
sets(such as Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic), it can only read
character-by-character instead of string characters into words, and
for others(such as Chinese and Japanese), it can only identify the
character set and then repeat the word "letter" for each character in
the string, and then there are some characters Orca can't identify at
all and just reads the Unicode code point in Hexadecimal.

This can be particularly annoying when reading wiki pages that are
heavy on foreign terms that are displayed both in their source
language and Romanized.

My text-mode screen reader, SBL, has even bigger issues, reading
pretty much all non-ASCII characters as "thorn", and can't even handle
things such as accented Latin characters or the curly versions of the
single and double quotes.

If anyone knows anything I could try to improve these, it would be
greatly appreciated.

If it matters, I'm running a system customized from Knoppix 7.7.1,
which is based on Debian.

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