How to use the program


Collaboration and Download



W is a program designed for French and English-speaking persons with spoken disabililities. It provides a mean of quickly typing a text, and automatically speaks words as soon as they have been typed. It is part of the W project created by the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons. The main goal of this project is to make recent results in speech synthesis  research quickly available for persons with spoken disabilities.

W uses the freely available  MBROLA synthetizer to let disabled persons take part, in real time, to spoken discussions. The main problem it tries to solve is "How to use speech synthetizer in real time knowing that the time we take to write a text on the keyboard is much longer than the time we need to speak it?". Many solutions were tested, and the most appropriate we found is to let users use abreviations for the most frequent words.

W is available now for French and American English, but it can easily be adapted to other langages. See the collaboration part for more informations.

How to use the program

W runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT platforms. When running it, a simple dialog box below  appears in the screen:

wpe.jpg (38055 octets)

Then, one can write contracted text (using abreviations) in the top window. Its transcription into standard text is then immediately available in the botton window, provided the check box  "On line transcription" is selected. In the same way, if the option  "on line synthesis" is selected, the transcibed word is immediately synthesized and spoken through the sound card.

There are also some options that are described bellow:

One can select the language he wants to work with (French and American English at this time);

It's also possible to change the abbreviations by clicking the "abbreviation" button. Then, the dialog box below appears. By clicking on "Modify" "Add" or "Remove" it's possible to modify, add or remove the abbreviations.

abreviation.jpg (14329 octets)

The button "Notepad" executes the Notepad editor. It's then easy to modify or print the non abbreviated text.


To increase the speed of typing texts on the keyboard, we choose contracted words.  The problem was to find standardized contractions which are used by lots of persons and have proved useful.  Most blind persons actually use such a langage, called Braille grade II. This langage was precisely designed to increase the speed of wrinting and reading Braille texts. Some examples of  the contractions are shown below:



Group of letters






























The W program is currently only available for French and English, using French and English Grade II Braille. Some booklets are available to help persons learning the french contractions as : "Je donne ma langue au chat" Evelyne Kommer edition 1993. This booklet is available in the AVH (Valentin Hauy Association) (Paris).

Collaboration and download

W has been created to be easily adapted to other languages. It is freely available for non commercial and non military use. You can download the binaries (1.8 MB) and the code (1.0MB) of  the program . If you have any problem with its porting into another langage, please send a message to tounsi@tcts.fpms.ac.be. We will do our very best to help you. The last modifications to this project are mentioned in the MBROLA news web page.   If you make any extentions of the program, please let us know, so that we could then inform our users.


Install the MBROLA TOLLS(1.5 MBytes) software wich enables you to make use of MBROLA synthetizer in the windows environment. To install this software, simply run 'mbrolatools311.exe'

Download the english voice us2 (6.4 MB) and the french voice fr1.zip (4.4 MB) . Unzipping this "us2.zip" file gives access to : 1) the directory 'test' 2) the 'us2.txt' text file 3) 'us2' (without extension).

After unzipping 'us2.zip' enter to the 'control panel' of your computer. Select the 'MBROLA' icon. The dialog box 'mbrola settings' will appear; click on the 'add' button to add the american english database. In the dialog box 'add database', click on '...' button and open the file 'us2' (the one without extension). Click on 'OK' on completion.

Install in the same way the french voice 'fr1'.

Then, To run the software W, Execute the file wsetup.exe (1.8 MB) and run 'W.exe'.


(c) Copyright 1998 Faculté Polytechnique de Mons, Belgium
For any questions about the web site, send an mail to
last modification : 11 january 1999 .