VoiceOver Hebrew Support Needed
Submitted by Daveed Mandell on Thursday, April 10, 2014.
Hello, everyone: We all know that Apple's commitment to accessibility is as strongz ever, which is much appreciated. However, those of us in the blind community who are speakers of Hebrew are concerned that Apple has not been willing to support our language in VoiceOver. This applies both to iOS and to OS for the Mac. Responses from Apple's accessibility department have been disappointing at best. We are told that our support requests have been passed on. We have not been able to get an honest answer from Apple as to why Hebrew is not being supported at this time in both speech and braille. A Hebrew voice, Carmit, is now included in Nuance's Vocalizer Expressive package. The Hebrew braille table is readily available either from the Central Library for the Blind in Netanya, Israel, or from Duxbury Systems in Westford, Massachusetts, USA. Android's TalkBack and BrailleBack already have Hebrew support. There are demonstrations and lessons on Youtube on how to use Android with a speech engine called Aharon TTS. We are asking for help and support from this forum and this amazingly wonerful website. We know that some people on this site have connections with Apple and might be able to obtain some information for us as to why Apple will not yet support Hebrew. We would very much appreciate the assistance of our fellow members of the Apple community who are blind and visually impaired, and we thank you in advance for that support. Regards, Daveed Mandell
Hello Daveed, First, please know that AppleVis has no inside knowledge of Apple's plans, be it for accessibility or in general. We recommend that users submit accessibility bugs and feature requests directly to Apple Accessibility. While it is entirely possible that Apple monitors this website, the more people who contact them about a feature request--especially something like this--the more likely the feature is to be implemented. I know you said people have already contacted Apple, but that is about all that one can realistically do when it comes to requesting features. It is also worth noting that one may not know until the public release of an iOS update whether a feature has been included. So, even if you haven't heard anything else from Apple besides that your request has been passed on to the engineers, it is entirely possible that Apple may be working on the request internally. Regards, Michael Hansen AppleVis Editorial Team
Thanks so much for replying, Michael. Apple sometimes has a tendency to be rather arrogant. I think when it comes to denying certain groups the very accessibility that the company touts so much and is justifiably so very proud of, we shouldn't just put up with this negative attitude. We have a right to be treated honestly and with civility. Thereqe, I ask AppleVis members to send notes about this issue to firstname.lastname@example.org. We really have to flood this dpartment. I have done the same to support others regarding similar serious issues. Many thanks to all. Regards, Daveed Mandell