WCAG and Diacritical Markings

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WCAG and Diacritical Markings

Ryan McCalla

Aloha,

 

Sorry if you’re seeing this message twice. Not sure if my first message was sent.

 

My name is Ryan and I am the Accessibility Specialist for the IT department at the University of Hawaiʻi. We are in a unique situation and I'm hoping someone on this list can give us a little guidance.

 

All of our current sites and pages use correct Hawaiian spelling of words and names with their correct diacritical markings. However, JAWS and NVDA do not handle these special markings well. JAWS is the worst and sometimes reads "Hawaiʻi" as "Hawai?i". The issue is that we want to be WCAG compliant, but at the same time we want to recognize the Hawaiian language and culture with the correct spelling and correct diacritical marks for Hawaiian words and names. If we use diacritical marks, screen readers do not handle/read them properly. If we don't use the proper spelling, we run the risk of upsetting the native culture.

 

Is there anything that we can do to ensure that Hawaiian words/names get spoken correctly by screen readers? Does accessibility trump culture and language? If we continue to use diacritical markings (and assuming we have no other issues), would we still meet WCAG compliance, even though screen readers stumble through the page?

 

More info on Hawaiian Diacritics at http://www.hawaii.edu/site/info/diacritics.php.

 

Mahalo,

 

Ryan McCalla

ITS Staff

University of Hawaiʻi

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RE: WCAG and Diacritical Markings

Carney, Amy L (EED)

Hello, Ryan,

 

Have you inserted an ISO language code around the word(s) that are Hawaiian? (e.g. <p lang=”haw”>)

 

Also, it may help using escape character in place of each diacritical marking. So, “Hawai&rsquo;i” rather than “Hawai’i“.

 

I’m still new to web development, and other should correct me if I’m wrong. But these are HTML techniques I have recently learned about to aid in making websites more accessible.

 

Amy Carney

Publications Specialist

Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums

 

From: Ryan McCalla [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2016 2:22 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: WCAG and Diacritical Markings

 

Aloha,

 

Sorry if you’re seeing this message twice. Not sure if my first message was sent.

 

My name is Ryan and I am the Accessibility Specialist for the IT department at the University of Hawaiʻi. We are in a unique situation and I'm hoping someone on this list can give us a little guidance.

 

All of our current sites and pages use correct Hawaiian spelling of words and names with their correct diacritical markings. However, JAWS and NVDA do not handle these special markings well. JAWS is the worst and sometimes reads "Hawaiʻi" as "Hawai?i". The issue is that we want to be WCAG compliant, but at the same time we want to recognize the Hawaiian language and culture with the correct spelling and correct diacritical marks for Hawaiian words and names. If we use diacritical marks, screen readers do not handle/read them properly. If we don't use the proper spelling, we run the risk of upsetting the native culture.

 

Is there anything that we can do to ensure that Hawaiian words/names get spoken correctly by screen readers? Does accessibility trump culture and language? If we continue to use diacritical markings (and assuming we have no other issues), would we still meet WCAG compliance, even though screen readers stumble through the page?

 

More info on Hawaiian Diacritics at http://www.hawaii.edu/site/info/diacritics.php.

 

Mahalo,

 

Ryan McCalla

ITS Staff

University of Hawaiʻi

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Re: WCAG and Diacritical Markings

Elizabeth J. Pyatt
In reply to this post by Ryan McCalla
This is a tough one.

You’re correct that most U.S. screen readers will not be able to pronounce this correctly by default. But I also don’t want to compromise foreign language content too much because of poor screen reader support. On the other hand, sometimes minor compromise is necessary until technology can improve.

The language tagging is good practice, but would not be effective unless the individual is able to install a Hawaiian text to speech (TTS) pronunciation engine on the screen reader.

If you were working with an individual, you could have that person install a symbol file that would at least read ‘ as “Okina” (vs. “’Okina”). This would result in reading Hawai’i  as "Hawai Okina i”.  This is still less than perfect.
http://accessibility.psu.edu/foreignlanguages/jawssymbols/

A more global solution would be to use ARIA to fudge the pronunciation. That would entail converting all instances of Hawai’i to a pseudo image with an Anglicized ALT text <span role=“img” aria-label=“Hawaii”> Hawai’i</span>
http://sites.psu.edu/gotunicode/2014/11/18/aria-for-screen-readers-not-able-to-read-symbols/

A third solution is to ask actual JAWS users how well they are able to handle the current code.  JAWS and other screen readers fail even on many English abbreviations (e.g. reading PA as “pah” instead of “P.A” or “NaCL” as “knackle” instead of “sodium chloride") and unfortunately blind users have learned to adjust to this.  One practice I try to use is to define the first instance of an abbreviation (e.g. "PSU (Penn State University)”). You could do something similar with Hawai’i a and use CSS to hide the Anglicized version of “Hawaii”.

Hope some of these are useful.

Elizabeth



> On Aug 11, 2016, at 6:21 PM, Ryan McCalla <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Aloha,
>  
> Sorry if you’re seeing this message twice. Not sure if my first message was sent.
>  
> My name is Ryan and I am the Accessibility Specialist for the IT department at the University of Hawaiʻi. We are in a unique situation and I'm hoping someone on this list can give us a little guidance.
>  
> All of our current sites and pages use correct Hawaiian spelling of words and names with their correct diacritical markings. However, JAWS and NVDA do not handle these special markings well. JAWS is the worst and sometimes reads "Hawaiʻi" as "Hawai?i". The issue is that we want to be WCAG compliant, but at the same time we want to recognize the Hawaiian language and culture with the correct spelling and correct diacritical marks for Hawaiian words and names. If we use diacritical marks, screen readers do not handle/read them properly. If we don't use the proper spelling, we run the risk of upsetting the native culture.
>  
> Is there anything that we can do to ensure that Hawaiian words/names get spoken correctly by screen readers? Does accessibility trump culture and language? If we continue to use diacritical markings (and assuming we have no other issues), would we still meet WCAG compliance, even though screen readers stumble through the page?
>  
> More info on Hawaiian Diacritics at http://www.hawaii.edu/site/info/diacritics.php.
>  
> Mahalo,
>  
> Ryan McCalla
> ITS Staff
> University of Hawaiʻi

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
[hidden email], (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

3A Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu
http://tlt.psu.edu


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Re: WCAG and Diacritical Markings

Cohn, Jonathan
In reply to this post by Ryan McCalla
It appears that the default synthesizer on Macintosh is reading these words correctly. Is it possible that some of the newer speech engines that can be gotten with a download have better support for the language? If not, perhaps VFO Group would be willing to add dictionary items you provide to their supplied dictionaries. 

It seems ridiculous to resort to CSS or image hacks to get pronunciation correct.

Jonathan Cohn


  
On Aug 11, 2016, at 6:21 PM, Ryan McCalla <[hidden email]> wrote:

Aloha,

 

Sorry if you’re seeing this message twice. Not sure if my first message was sent.

 

My name is Ryan and I am the Accessibility Specialist for the IT department at the University of Hawaiʻi. We are in a unique situation and I'm hoping someone on this list can give us a little guidance. 

 

All of our current sites and pages use correct Hawaiian spelling of words and names with their correct diacritical markings. However, JAWS and NVDA do not handle these special markings well. JAWS is the worst and sometimes reads "Hawaiʻi" as "Hawai?i". The issue is that we want to be WCAG compliant, but at the same time we want to recognize the Hawaiian language and culture with the correct spelling and correct diacritical marks for Hawaiian words and names. If we use diacritical marks, screen readers do not handle/read them properly. If we don't use the proper spelling, we run the risk of upsetting the native culture.

 

Is there anything that we can do to ensure that Hawaiian words/names get spoken correctly by screen readers? Does accessibility trump culture and language? If we continue to use diacritical markings (and assuming we have no other issues), would we still meet WCAG compliance, even though screen readers stumble through the page?

 

More info on Hawaiian Diacritics at http://www.hawaii.edu/site/info/diacritics.php.

 

Mahalo,
 
Ryan McCalla
ITS Staff
University of Hawaiʻi