ReadSpeaker and Accessibility: ‘A Partner in Voice’

In News by Publishing Perspectives Staff

The marketing lead at ReadSpeaker, Amy Foxwell, goes over how the company ‘enhances accessibility by transforming text into speech.’ Sponsored.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Olezzo

‘Making Content Interactive and Engaging for All Users’
Based in the Netherlands, ReadSpeaker is a company that provides languages and lifelike voices with what it says are some of the most natural-sounding synthesized voices on the market.

ReadSpeaker uses next-generation “Deep Neural Network” (DNN) technology to structurally improve voice quality at all levels. The company is a subsidiary of the memory disk division of the HOYA Corporation, a Japanese multinational company active in the fields of life care and information technology. ReadSpeaker encompasses all of HOYA’s technologies—NeoSpeech, Voiceware, VoiceText, and rSpeak.

Especially with the European Accessibility Act going into forces a year from today—June 28, 2025—one of the key areas in which ReadSpeaker’s leadership believes that it can provide services to the international book-publishing business in the field of accessibility.

Amy Foxwell, ReadSpeaker’s global marketing director for education, publishing, and accessibility, says, “Internationally, around 15 percent of the population has a learning disability, including conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. Additionally, in North America, approximately 22 percent of the population speaks a language other than English at home. These diverse learner populations require ‘accessibility tools.’

“ReadSpeaker enhances accessibility by transforming text into speech,” Foxwell says, “ensuring that content is audible. With its learning tools and customization options, ReadSpeaker is essential for publishers committed to making their content inclusive and accessible. However, this overlooks a larger aim: text-to-speech is becoming a ubiquitous element of digital content, benefiting all content consumers, not just those needing accessibility. Robust text-to-speech is no longer a competitive advantage, but a must-have.”

Amy Foxwell

In terms of how ReadSpeaker’s technology can help an end-user, Foxwell says, “ReadSpeaker brings ‘click-and-listen’ functionality and speech-enhanced learning tools to all users. This is part of what’s referred to as the Universal Design for Learning framework and the curb-cut effect in action. Accessible design is just good design.”

To accomplish its delivery of that design, Foxwell says, “ReadSpeaker integrates seamlessly, offering 50+ high-quality languages and learning and focus tools directly in content and learning platforms. This means it provides real-time text-to-speech conversion and synchronized text highlighting for all users. It also provides a suite of learning and focus tools. So users can just click and listen to any content, and use one of the many learning tools such as translate; a dictionary look-up; note-taking, optical character recognition (OCR); dictation; and assessments to support their studies, anywhere on any device. All of that is directly in the content. There are no downloads or toggling from one program to the next.”

The ReadSpeaker team’s experience covers what Foxwell says is 25 years of work with companies including National Geographic, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Oxford University Press, Ebsco Information Services, Cengage, Magic EdTech, the Silverchair platform, and more.

“We have a wide variety of integrations,” she says, “and are known for our expertise, personalized service, and flexible models that ensure our customers have the solution that fits their specific needs.

Publishers should consider ReadSpeaker for its cutting-edge accessibility solutions and our commitment to inclusion,” she says. “Our technology ensures inclusive content for all readers, enhances user engagement, and helps meet legal requirements, making it an essential partner in accessible publishing. But I would also say that it’s not just about accessibility. It’s also about making content interactive and engaging for all users.

“What sets us apart from our competitors,” Foxwell says, “is that since we’re originally  a text-to-speech company, we can provide consistent, high-quality voices across all platforms for all needs, whether as an integrated plug-in, an individual tool, an audio file creator, or embedded speech. We can even create a custom voice to set a publisher apart from its competitors. ReadSpeaker becomes a partner in voice.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on issues in accessibility and international book publishing is here, more on the European Accessibility Act is here, more on the Accessible Books Consortium is here, and more on the Global Certified Accessible designation from Benetech is here

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Publishing Perspectives Staff

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