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Old 09-26-2014, 10:03 PM   #1
theundeadelvis
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Create an ePub file with both Arabic and English

Hello! I'm a fairly basic ePub user, and I've run into a bit of a conundrum. We convert Word documents to ePub files, so that materials can be made accessible to low-vision/blind students on their mobile devices. We are currently working with some documents that contain both Arabic and English in them. Getting a reader to read aloud the Arabic is working, but we have been unable to get it to read both the Arabic and the English aloud. So, if there's a sentence in Arabic, and then a small section of English, it will read the Arabic, but not the English.

Is ePub capable of this? Obviously, there's the issue of Arabic reading right to left, and English left to right, but we were hoping we could throw the English text in a <span> with dir-ltr or something to that affect.

Any insight you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-26-2014, 11:00 PM   #2
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It would seem you would need to be able to access speech engines for both languages and your machine is set up for arabic. A good speech engine takes up a fair amount of space, on the order of half a gig.

There is probably on here who is more knowledgeable than I am who might tell you how you could make the switch from one to the other. It is possible to mark each paragraph start with the language, if the program is capable to reading aloud in both languages. It was in connection with making the machine use the right spellcheck dictionary that this came up.
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:08 AM   #3
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I couldn't find any app that has both English and Arabic read aloud functionality. If you do manage to find an app that does that then like mrmikel said, you'd want to mark each paragraph with the language, I assume he meant using the lang attribute.
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:04 AM   #4
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Right. See
http://www.w3schools.com/tags/att_global_lang.asp

for an example.

If you are able to search Arabic, it might be easier to find such an app. The US has a national resource for the blind. You might investigate
http://www.loc.gov/nls/
and see if they know of anything.
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:14 PM   #5
theundeadelvis
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Thanks for all the suggestions!
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:54 AM   #6
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It seems you are mostly concerned with text-to-speech processing. That is going to depend a lot on the application you use to read your book.

However, for the text rendering, I suggest you take a look at this page. But keep in mind that ePub 2 uses XHTML, not HTML5.
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:32 PM   #7
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You can create an EPUB3 combined audio-ebook, and read it with something like this: https://www.readbeyond.it/menestrello/
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:58 AM   #8
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The Daisy Consortium offers a free Windows app for generating ePub3 books with TTS generated SMIL audio audio overlays from epub2 books (and .html files).
I did a quick test with three French, English and German paragraphs and the generated epub3 file worked without any additional edits with Menestrello and Readium.

@theundeadelvis:
If you find a Windows compatible Arabic TTS voice, you might be able to generate multilingual epub3 books by manually switching the TTS voice in Tobi before generating the sound file.
Attached Files
File Type: epub Tobi_TTS_Test.epub (4.52 MB, 16 views)
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Old 10-03-2014, 12:13 PM   #9
theundeadelvis
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Yesterday we found a fairly reliable and simple alternative. Saving the Word documents as PDFs, and then opening the PDF in iBooks, allowed iBooks to read both the English and Arabic text properly.
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theundeadelvis View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. Yesterday we found a fairly reliable and simple alternative. Saving the Word documents as PDFs, and then opening the PDF in iBooks, allowed iBooks to read both the English and Arabic text properly.
Undead:

Well, I'm glad it is working for you, but somehow, somewhere, the "ePUB" part of the equation seems to have vanished...

Hitch
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:11 PM   #11
theundeadelvis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Undead:

...but somehow, somewhere, the "ePUB" part of the equation seems to have vanished...

Hitch
Yep, lol. Not exactly the route we were hoping to take, but given the time we had allotted, and the effort required, this ended up being our best bet. Thanks again for everyone's help.
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