The Irony of Writing for Dyslexics

AKA an apology to my Dyslexic Readers

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I have several posts intended for people with Dyslexia about resources and strategies to survive a PhD. I spend quite a bit of time writing and editing these posts. I am proud of the information I am putting together!

And yet, I know that reading is not my preferred method of communication or learning. And the dyslexics I know agree with me.

So, in order to address the irony of producing written material for dyslexics, I have been trying to record myself narrating those posts. I imagined that listening to a person narrate is way better than using a text-to-speech tool.

I have all the tools I need: I quiet space, a microphone, and Garage Band. All I have to do is hit record, and upload the mp3 file in Soundcloud.

Easy, right?

WRONG.

I have spent more hours that I should have attempting to make such a recording.

What is the problem you ask?

Not the technology. My computer’s microphone is adequate for recording. GarageBand is intuitive and easy to use. So, I can certainly create mp3 files.

The environment is quiet enough. I have had to pause my recordings due to ambulances in the background. Or when my dog decides to go say hi to the cat when the cat is sleeping.

The problem is reading.

As it turns out, reading out loud is not my thing. At all. Who would have imagined a dyslexic having problems reading? Completely unexpected!

Seriously, though. I thought that since I had written the material, I would be able to read it. But I can’t.

I constantly jump lines. Other times, I just ad lib around the general theme I may or may not have written about because I can’t make out the next words. I also jump words that refuse to behave.

The result is an incoherent mess of a recording that takes too long to produce for how awful it is.

So, until I figure out how to approach this problem, there will be no recordings of me reading anything.

Sorry. All I can do now is recommend Serena, a British English voice, as the one you can use to read these words. She sounds nothing like me, but she is my favorite!

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for trying to record yourself narrating your blog posts. I agree that computer-generated audio is not as good as human-read. But computer-generated audio is more accessible than print for many dyslexic people. Have you thought of installing a text reader on your blog? Some are available cost-free. Alternatively, you could provide information so that your followers can install a text reader on their device or a memory stick. Further info. in ‘Making written web content accessible using text readers’ at http://includeusall.org.uk/1205-2.

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