Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of speech synthesis application that is used to create a spoken sound version of the text in a computer document, such as a help file or a Web page. TTS can enable the reading of computer display information for the visually challenged person, or may simply be used to augment the reading of a text message. Current TTS applications include voice-enabled e-mail and spoken prompts in voice response systems. TTS is often used with voice recognition programs. There are numerous TTS products available, including Read Please 2000, Proverbe Speech Unit, and Next Up Technology's TextAloud. Lucent, Elan, and AT&T each have products called "Text-to-Speech."
In addition to TTS software, a number of vendors offer products involving hardware, including the Quick Link Pen from WizCom Technologies, a pen-shaped device that can scan and read words; the Road Runner from Ostrich Software, a handheld device that reads ASCII text; and DecTalk TTS from Digital Equipment, an external hardware device that substitutes for a sound card and which includes an internal software device that works in conjunction with the PC's own sound card.