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Guide to Writing Text-to-Speech

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Punctuation

1. Use proper punctuation – the Text-To-Speech (TTS) voice can “read” the punctuation and inflect accordingly, pausing or stopping for commas and periods, inflecting up for question marks, and emphasizing exclamation points.
2. Use commas for pauses and “breathing.” The current trend in written punctuation is to use fewer commas than in the past. In TTS writing we tend to use more commas, adding minor pauses at the ends of most phrases for clarity. The rule is that if you would pause momentarily while speaking something, insert a comma there.


Numbers
1. Generally, if you would like a number to be read as separate digits, use a space between the digits. In other words, to say “one, two, three,” space the digits out as 1 2 3. To slow down the reading of the digits even more, add commas and spaces, as in 1, 2, 3. To say “one hundred twenty three,” as a single whole number, don’t use spaces at all, as in 123.
2. Some numbers are automatically read in clusters. If you enter a phone number as 213-555-1212, the TTS voice will read it as “two one three [pause] five five five [pause] one two one two.” It will also read a properly formatted social security number (xxx-xx-xxxx) in the same manner.

Dates and Time
1. The TTS voice can read date formats. If you enter a date as 2/14/15, it will be read as “February fourteenth, fifteen.” 2/14/2015 will be read as “February fourteenth, twenty fifteen.”
2. Time is also read in a very straightforward manner. 8:15 is read as “eight fifteen.” 8:15 PM is read as “eight fifteen p m.” In military time, 20:15 is read as “twenty fifteen.”


Web Sites
1. Generally web sites are read in a straightforward manner. If you type www.mysite.com, the TTS voice will read it as “w w w dot my site dot com.” There can be some quirks, however, with run-on website names. The URL www.hendrixisalive.com looks right but is actually read as “w w w dot Hendrix is aleev dot com.” To have the site read properly you must separate the elements of the run-on name, as follows: www.hendrix is alive.com is read as “w w w dot Hendrix is alive dot com.”
2. Slashes are read correctly: the site www.mysite.com/getcode.php is read as “w w w dot my site dot com slash get code dot p h p.”

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