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Persons with a print disability may find it hard if not impossible to read documents, websites or any other textual content on their screen without the aid of auditory cues. ClaroRead PLUS offers an integral solution to access text-based documents and read them aloud using TTS technology. Besides, it comes with OCR technology to make readable any image-based file.
When first launched, the program opens a menu bar with basic audio controls (play and stop) and scan, check, and save options. An Extras button opens a small menu where you can access other Claro software tools that installs with ClaroRead PLUS, such as ScreenRuler, ClaroView, and ClaroCapture. Coming from Claro Software, an assistive technology company, the accessibility of the interface is guaranteed, though some of the tools included will only be of use for persons with a certain level of residual vision.
Regardless of the language of the text (the program supports up to 24 of them), ClaroRead PLUS can read text from any Office (or other text-based) document, e-mail, webpage, or any program whose text can be readable via TTS, as well as turn into readable text any image-based PDF or screen capture. Persons with dyslexia can also benefit from this tool, as it offers synchronized text and audio that highlights the portion of text that’s being read aloud.
When scanning a file whose text is not readable right away, the program will detect automatically all the textual elements and will provide an estimated reading order, an essential feature to read correctly pages with complex layouts (columns, side bars, footnotes, etc.). You can edit this default reading order, and you can also leave out those elements that are not purely textual (icons, logos, etc.) or simply decorative. The scanned text can be saved as a Word file so that the program’s TTS can read it aloud for you, and you can then save the generated auditory information as a standalone audio file for later use. I found serious difficulties trying to scan PDF files stored on a USB device, an action that turned the program unresponsive repeatedly. Apparently, the program can be installed also on a USB stick, which I guess may solve the problem.
As part of the Lingit AS group, reading accuracy has become an essential feature in the ClaroRead family of products. The program comes with a spell checker, a dictionary, and a word prediction feature to guarantee that what you read and write is nothing short of perfect. ClaroRead PLUS is in between the SE version (which lacks OCR and spell checking capabilities, among others) and a PRO version that adds advanced PDF output options and a better proof scan to the wealth of features that the PLUS version offers. This is a tool that can make life much easier to blind persons, persons with low vision, and persons with dyslexia alike, as well as to anyone having difficulties in accessing print on a computer environment.
- Includes OCR capabilities
- Scans from file or from a screen capture
- Determines the reading order automatically
- Can save TTS as an audio file
- It becomes unresponsive when scanning documents from USB
- It carries a high price tag