Blindfold Email: How important is punctuation?

I’ve been emailing several times a week to some of the blind gamers with whom I am collaborating on different games.

dictation icon

When I send an email, I re-read it several times, to ensure not only the tone is right, but the words I picked would probably sound correct when read by a text-to-voice system like Voice-over on the iPhone or JAWS on a PC or MAC. If I suspect the computerized pronunciation will be wrong, I’ll select an alternate word.

What’s interesting is what I get in reply. Blind gamers use a speech-to-text systems similar to SIRI. Unlike most emails, it is one long block of text. Sometimes there are sentence breaks, sometimes not. Sometimes commas are inserted properly, most times not. Sometimes the words are translated to text incorrectly, so I have to guess what word was intended. The easiest way for me to both understand the meaning and intent of a long email is to insert all of the punctuation back into their email, then re-read it. Alternatively, I can read it aloud to myself, and it is comprehensible.

I never realized how dependent sighted people are on the visual appearance of what we read. To give you an idea of what it’s like, consider the emails I received recently:

First off a fantastic job with all your games for the blind I’ve only been playing a few of them was wondering if there was a way to keep stats versus the computer in some of the games I’m currently loving wildcard but would love some career stats as I love to keep stats.

Hello if you got email from hockey app and sign in with your account info when prompted once you sign in you’ll seethe app to download and follow install link shown.

Yes it will be great to or more players yes I will definitely enjoy that is fun playing against the computer but is fun to play against other people state to state nationwide or worldwidebut what games do you think will be available I like to know a way that can play without being on Facebook is there anyway that could be donecause I was waiting a long time before playing games on the phone I have ever played video games …

Then again, when I think about it, they are no worse than the emails I get from my lawyer when he uses his dictating app.

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One comment on “Blindfold Email: How important is punctuation?

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