There is a rather infamous multilingualisation bug in almost every
screen reader I have ever used. As a german native speaker,
I usually set my operating system user interface language to german.
However, since I do a lot of technical work, I frequently
end up on english websites. But if I temporarily switch
my speech synthesis language to english, certain user interface
elements and key names are not translated!
So the screen reader continues to say "Eingabe" or "Leertaste", but
with an english accent! I consider this behaviour hilarious, especially
in 21st century.
To demonstrate how hilarious it actually is, I have made a little
browser audio game. Voice snippets have been contributed
by my girlfriend. A natural voice is still a lot better
than sampled speech synthesizers, and sounds more fun as we think.
The idea is simple: Angela will announce a key name, and you
are supposed to hit it on the keyboard as fast as possible.
After a round of 50 guesses (time to answer will decrease with every guess)
a final score will be announced.
hack this up (with a little help from Simon) in roughly
2 hours of browsing Stackoverflow.
The game is here. The code is on GitHub.
If you have any problems getting this to work, please let me know or
send a pull request.
I'd like to get it working at least on iOS as well (after
all, it is the touch device platform with best accessibility support
currently), however, I could not get mobile safari to behave.
So patches to enable use on touch devices are welcome.
It should be simple, just add a few buttons which call the pressed
function with the appropriate character as parameter. However, I tried,
and something is fishy regarding window.setTimeout since it does
not behave the same way as if you use it with Firefox.
Oh, and my favourite key name is "Runt Glamour Zoo" :-)
Now, this was funny. But it is also very sad.
If you play this game, remember that blind and visually impaired
computer users really have to cope with such accented pronounciations
on a daily basis. We grew used to it, but if I take a step backward,
it's really unacceptable that we still have to cope with this daily.
And this is the simple part of the bug, since it is only
dealing with key labels, which are internal to the system.
It gets much worse if you want your screen reader to automatically
switch to the correct synthesis language. Language detection
is apparently not good enough to be implemented, at least that's what
they tell me. And if the document (HTML) specifies a language,
it's wrong in more than 50% of the cases. This is a disaster.
Come to think of it, that is probably a reason why I prefer
braille over speech. With braille, this problem goes away completely.