A Joint Effort to Improve NVDA for Chinese Language Users

Thanks to financial contributions from both the Hong Kong Blind Union (HKBU) and the Taiwan Digital Talking Books Association (TDTB), NV Access will be able to undertake a project to improve the usability of NVDA for Chinese language users. Both of these organisations have been great supporters of NVDA in the past and we are thrilled that they are willing to provide the means to get this particular project off the ground.

Depending on available voices, NVDA is able to handle speaking of Chinese text quite well. On the other hand, writing East-Asian languages such as Chinese or Japanese is nearly impossible. To input languages such as Chinese in Windows, the user types certain key sequences, but then must usually choose the correct Chinese character from a list of possible choices. In order to make NVDA suitable for East-Asian language users, it has to be able to report these choices and also allow the user to review the typed phrase so far before it is finally entered in to the document or control they are working with.

To date, work has been undertaken by individual communities to add this support into NVDA. Although these modifications seem to work reasonably well, they are not integrated into the official version of NVDA. This means that there is a tendency for these changes to break with new releases of NVDA and the support is not readily available to the widest amount of users, including those in other countries wishing to learn a language such as Chinese. NV Access will therefore commit development resources to reviewing existing code, integrating it in to the official NVDA project and making further improvements in close collaboration with the original communities. If you are interested in more information, you can read a detailed work proposal including full cost estimates.

The HKBU and TDTB have both agreed to contribute one third of the project cost each. Although this means we are one third short, NV Access is still happy to undertake the project, focusing specifically on Chinese input, and the needs of Taiwan and Hong Kong. If there are any individuals or organisations (especially from either mainland China or Japan) who may be willing to contribute the shortfall, we would be more than happy to work closely with them on this project, expanding our focus to cover their specific user needs.

Again, we would like to thank both the HKBU and TDTB for their contributions and we look forward to working with them on this project.