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When given a well-known abbreviation or acronym, Mac's built-in Text-to-Speech engine automatically speaks the correct word or pronunciation, instead of the individual letters.

For example:

vs

  • (Speech pronunciation: "versus")

Dec.

  • (Speech pronunciation: "December")

5 cm

  • (Speech pronunciation: "5 centimeters")

Dr.

  • (Speech pronunciation: "Doctor")

Dept.

  • (Speech pronunciation: "department")

Rd

  • (Speech pronunciation: "road")

OPEC

  • (Speech pronunciation: "oh-peck")

However, there are instances where Speech does not pronounce a lesser-known abbreviation correctly, and, instead, speaks the individual letters of the word.

For example:

BTW

IMO

YMMV

Is it possible to change the Speech behavior, so that when it is given "BTW," for example, it reads "by the way"?

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Yes all you need to do is Go to System Preferences/Accessibility/VoiceOver. Then click the open voiceover utility button. Once that utility opens, select speech on the left and open the pronunciation tab. From there, you can add any abbreviations with substitutions.

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I also added the substitutions here:

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    I just tried your method and it does not work. I think this is because "Speech" and "VoiceOver" actually use two separate engines. See for yourself: Type "qty" in an application and then highlight this text. Then click Edit → Speech → Start Speaking. You will observe that Speech does not say "quantity," despite the fact that this substitution has been added to the VoiceOver Utility Pronunciations. – rubik's sphere Apr 15 '17 at 18:46
  • I'm not sure why but I added "BTW" And that works, but "QTY" does not. Try adding "BTW" To yours and see if it works for you – wch1zpink Apr 15 '17 at 20:14
  • I added "BTW" to the list, in addition to several other custom pronunciations. I then restarted my computer. Speech still pronounces the custom words as individual letters. I'm using OS X 10.11.6. How are you triggering the Speech, exactly? – rubik's sphere Apr 17 '17 at 3:00
  • for "BTW" (In any application) all I do is select those three letters and I trigger my text to speech with ctrl + space.. Speech does say the full line.. "by the way". However, "qty" Has not worked for me yet. Operating system Sierra – wch1zpink Apr 17 '17 at 3:04
  • Very strange. I tried also adding the substitutions to the "Keyboard" menu (per your most recent edit), but Speech still speaks the letters individually. I guess that this functionality is unique to Sierra... – rubik's sphere Apr 17 '17 at 4:42

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