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February 19, 2010

Recruiting Now for a Survey on Synthesized Speech and Audio Description

IBM Research-Japan and WGBH's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) are conducting a joint study via an online survey on the applicability of speech synthesis for audio description of Web-based video.

Adults (18+ years of age) who are blind or have low vision will be asked to share their opinions about a few short video clips which include synthesized description.

NCAM is seeking participants with a range of familiarity with synthesized speech (from little or none to regular users) and as well as familiarity with audio description (from little or none to regular users).

Interested in sharing your opinion? Please send an email to with "participate" in the subject line. Once the online survey is posted on or about March 1, you will be sent an email with the survey's Web site address and asked to complete the survey by Friday, March 12. The survey, which will be accessible via screen-reading software, should take no longer than one half hour.

NCAM will summarize and share the results of the survey once user opinions are analyzed.

NOTE: This is an early investigation into a subject many people who are blind or have low-vision have asked about for many years. Though we are conducting this study, WGBH does not intend to substitute synthesized speech for human voices on the programs and movies we currently describe. Following this narrow and limited initial study, further research will be required to expand the scope of investigation into larger populations, other types of media and other parameters.