Do You Need Help with Reading? Here are the Best Text Readers for the Blind

Text Readers for the Blind

In the 21st century where there’s a rapid growth in technology, the blind community isn’t left behind.

Gone are days when computers could not be operated by the blind. With the help of technological innovations, not only can the blind carry out basic computing but can also executive complex tasks.

A screen reader is a vital software that allows a blind person or partially sighted individual to use the computer easily and efficiently. This article is a compilation of the most common text readers in the world. Some of them are free while others are paid.

Text Readers for the Blind

This is the list of text readers for visually impaired students.

1 NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) {Windows}

This is a high-quality and free open-source software designed by the blind and for the blind. It is rated the best free screen reader for the visually impaired worldwide. It enables the blind and low-vision community to do a lot of things like surfing the web, reading and writing emails, meeting and chatting with friends on social media.

This is a highly recommended free screen reader that supports over 50 languages across the globe. NVDA supports various versions of Windows operating system.

Related: Best Free Software for Visually Impaired Students

2 Cobra {Windows}

This is a versatile software that provides speech output, braille, and magnification support. New features are being added as it is being upgraded from one version to another. Over the years, it has been a useful Windows OS screen reader for the visually impaired community. The software supports more than 12 languages and over 120 different Braille displays.

When reading a page with COBRA, you can minimize your window, work on something else and still come back to continue from where you stopped. It remembers where you were and allows you to continue from that point instead of starting again from the beginning of the page.

3 Apple VoiceOver {Mac}

Apple Voiceover is a built-in screen reader found on Mac computers. It tells you exactly what’s going on on your screen and provides hints as you carry out your tasks. With the support of over 35 languages, the software gives an option to listen to auditory descriptions in multiple voices. It supports all built-in apps on Mac and helps you to navigate PDFs, messages, and websites easily. This is a unique software that has been designed to easily read out emails and other web content.

4 Jaws {Windows}

This is a popular Windows software that offers braille and speech output for popular PC applications. It is a globally recognized screen reader specially designed to enable low-vision users to read screen content and navigate the web easily.

JAWS provides several features that assist in reading documents, emails, and surfing the internet. With this software, you can quickly fill out web forms. It is handy when you need to skim through texts to save time.

5 Orca {Linux}

Orca is another free and open-source screen reader that converts website content to audible speech and understandable braille. It is one of the most popular Linux screen readers that has been providing assistance to the visually impaired community over the years.

The software works with various Linux assistive technology applications to provide an optimized result for users.

Gnome, the developer of Orca, created well-detailed documentation that includes the user manual and other important information to assist users to easily install and use the software. 

Related: 4 Best Types of Crutches

6 ChromeVox {Chromebook}

Chrome Vox is a free screen reader that’s only available to Chromebook users. The software comes pre-installed, so no installation efforts are required from users. All you need to do is to turn on the software and start using it. 

This software allows you to enjoy all the features and functionalities found on Chromebook at no extra cost. It has been upgraded over the years; the old versions are called ChromeVox Classic. The latest version, ChromeVox, is faster and easier to use.

7 Emacspeak {Linux}

This is a Linux compatible screen reader that gives the visually impaired the freedom to independently access the internet. Emacspeak uses audio formatting to produce an audio presentation of the content on your screen. The software has created an avenue for thousands of low-vision users to interact with their personal computers to surf the internet, read emails, and carry out other computing tasks.

Emacspeak is a free screen reader that gives eyes-free access to the computer and the internet world via the fluent audio presentation of the screen content. 

This software has a unique feature that differentiates it from other screen readers. It doesn’t just read out the screen content, it reads out the subtle meaning. For example, it doesn’t just read out the numbers on a calendar, it reads out dates in an easy-to-understand format.

8 System Access {Windows}

System Access is a Windows software designed by Serotek, a company founded by a blind individual to cater for the blind and visually impaired computer users. The software was designed with the motive of making screen readers available to users at a low cost.

It offers text-to-speech feature with natural voice using NeoSpeech and other options. It also offers several other functionalities at low cost compared with other paid screen readers.

The company offers two packages; the System Access Standalone and System Access Mobile. Each package can be obtained for onetime payment or monthly subscription fee.

9 Dolphin {Windows}

Dolphin combines both software and free apps tailored for the different categories of the visually impaired community. The software caters for the dyslexic, low-vision, and blind individuals. It is used by millions of people with sight loss.

The paid Dolphin software is available in different categories for individuals, organizations, and institutions.

The mobile variant known as Dolphin EasyReader, designed for iOS and Android users, is free and offers features that enable users to easily listen to books and other texts.

10 Zoom Text {Windows}

This software works by magnifying your texts and reading them out loud. It reads out emails, documents, and web pages. Zoom Text is a Windows screen reader that works on Windows 7, 8.1, 10, and higher versions.

It requires some hardware specifications to function well on your PC. To use the software, you need a computer with a minimum processor of 2GHz and core i3 dual-core. You also need a minimum RAM of 4GB.

Zoom Text reads your screen content with a natural sound and it comes with support for touchscreen computers. The software magnifies your texts and displays them in high-definition. You can set and select your preferences to modify the appearance of your text.

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Do You Need Help with Reading? Here are the Best Text Readers for the Blind

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