Jun 29th 2010 UPDATE: SayText is now released! (iTunes link)

SayText reads aloud the text in the image. It is intended for visually impaired users. SayText is a free spin off product from the DocScanner team.

saytext comic v2 01 SayText

  1. Place the iPhone center of a document and double-tap the “Take picture” -button
  2. Slowly elevate the iPhone upwards from the document, until the whole document is in picture. A beep sound indicates, that the document has been detected. The camera will shoot automatically when focused
  3. While the OCR is running, tap the screen to hear the progress status
  4. When the OCR is ready, swipe right on the screen to listen the document

    69 Responses to SayText

    Please note: If you have a support request, please contact support

    1. william lomas says:

      wow it out! just did a search for saytext on the itunes store and found it!

    2. william lomas says:

      A few of us who are blind those with iphone 3gs and iphone 4, can not get the product to do anything. We do as told via yourselves i.e. we put the phone on the document and slowy lift it but we get no beeps and just keep moving the phone. HOw did the guy on the video does this so quickly?

    3. Earle Zwicker says:

      Thanks for working on this product and offering it for free. I’ve had limited success with my iPhone 3gs. I suspect a person would have better results with an iPhone 4. I really appreciate all of your hard work, and I was able to read enough of the document to figure out the basics. I’m looking forward to future updates. Thanks again, and keep up the great work. Btw, do you know if the guy in the video was using an iPhone 4?

      • Thanks! He is using 3GS. We will upload a video with some tips and provide an update for the app soon (Video today or tomorrow, minor update in about week, major update in one month).

    4. Greg says:

      I just downloaded it and got it to scan a document. I am using the 3gs IPhone and am noticing that this is quite dependent on strong lighting? Is this in line with your testing? I am seeing a lot of punctuation showing up after OCr occurs. I am also noticing that it is taking about 2 to 3 minutes to detect orientation. Is this normal? In the video, I noticed that the process took less than a minute. FYI, I am scanning simple black text on a white paper. This app has great potential and is very simple to use.

      • It was not intended to be misleading but in this video we did cut parts of processing out. There is another video coming up today or tomorrow. Yes orientation detection is that slow for now. We have figured out a way to make orientation detection 4x faster. We will provide an update with performance improvements in about one month.



    5. Greg says:

      As a blind person, I had no problems taking the picture. The key I found was to move it up slowly and make sure not to tilt the phone. the problem I am having is getting something useful out of the OCr. So far there has been significant amounts of punctuation and random characters. It may be extremely based on lighting.

    6. Hi all who have tested the App and experienced issues,

      We are working hard to make this app work faster, better more accurate and so on.

      We would really appreciate if you could send us images of documents you tried to read with no success. Later on we will likely add a feature to send anonymous error reports with one tap.

      You can use address: saytext@norfello.zendesk.com for sending images.

      Thanks in advance for helping us to improve this app!



    7. Greg says:

      When sending immages to the above address, we are to use the email button in the app to do so?

      • We need the camera image, not OCR result. So if you can take a picture of the document from the same angle, save it to camera roll and email it.

        Thanks in advance!


    8. Bubba says:

      hi, does Say text take advantage of the new iphone that has flash and zoome on it? Another words does it use the flash or zoom feature?

    9. Krister Ekstrom says:

      Hello and thanks for a great app. Unfortunately i couldn’t get my Iphone 3gs to beep at all no matter how high i raised it. Also i wonder if there would be a possibility for the app to warn the user if there was too little light for camera to capture the image correctly, that way we could know if the problem was ours, or if there were too little light or such. I look forward to some tips & tricks to use this program and i can really see the potential this app has.

    10. Andy Lane says:

      Hi, I have been checking the app store since I heard about saytext last week and today it was there, OMG. Well I got home from work today and did something I have never done in my life. I read the mail. It felt so damn good. Bills and credit card statements unfortunately which didn’t feel good at all hehe. I know the app is far from perfect yet but I did at least get the idea. I found the best result came from doing it outside on the patio. The OCR managed to get most of the content in evening sunlight. Still not perfect but for a first version of a free app which until now has cost upward of £700. Wow so impressive. Thank you so much for this, As it progresses through the versions and more people find it you will literally change peoples lives maybe only a little but please go to bed feeling very good about yourselves tonight. You have just changed the landscape of accessible software.

    11. william lomas says:

      why does this not beep for me i am not impressed really no matter how high I hold the phone up from the page I get no beeps

    12. Mark Nicol says:

      Hi there,

      Two tips: To those who can not get the app to beeb and take a picture, taking the picture against a dark background. Put your paper on a dark carpet or floor, rather than on a light coloured desk etc. Also, ensure that there is lots of light. 3Gs has no flash, so lots of light is needed.

      The other thing I’ve found with the 3Gs, the camera only has a 3mp camera. You have to make the most of those 3 megapixels. Remember that the camera is in the upper right corner. Put that corner in the middle of the document, rather than centering the whole phone in the middle. That way, as you raise the phone, the camera should detect edges sooner and the document will fill more of the frame, theoretically resulting in a better OCR result.

      Questions, Toumas: With a very plain text document, I notice the app will often render certain text as outlined characters, rather than solid text in the image capture. It is totally readable ( I am sighted ) but it is not included in the OCR result. Is there a way to address this?

      Also, it does not seem to do very well with any text that is any colour but deep black. Should it recognize coloured text as long as it is plain?

      The app hold a lot of promise, please keep at it. I am very excited for my clients that they may have a handheld OCR app for free.

      • Jeff Wheatley says:

        I have an iPhone4 and also find the app to be very easy to use. But, I have also gotten only garbage characters from the OCR process. I have tried several items: from a box of bacon, to brochures, to simple black-and-white basic font printer material on 8.5 x 11 paper. As per my sighted wife, she could read the text in the image very clearly as the OCR was processing. But, the result was random characters and punctuation.

        This will be a tremendous tool with the power to change lives if it can be made to reasonably convert text from mail, packaged items and product documentation! Please keep up the effort!

    13. Scott Walker says:

      Fantastic app! I have been looking for some sort of OCR product for my wife’s iPhone 4. She is deaf-blind, and now that the iPhone 4 will work with braille displays she can use a cellphone again! It’s doing a pretty good job of OCRing the text to her braille display; one thing we’ve noticed is that it’s not giving her enough time to aim the phone at the page and get it focused before it takes a picture. Even when I tried it, I’d be settling it over something and it would decide it was time to take the photo and it would be off-center and blurred. Could be us just not being used to “how it’s done”.

    14. John says:

      Would like to know if Saytext application is available for other phones other than the iphone??? Is there another application similar to this which can be loaded on Nokia or Motorolla phones?? My girlfriend is visually impaired n would appreciate if i could get a response

    15. Paul Wilson says:

      HI, I am just wondering if there is any chance of having this app read LCD screens. I.E. Blood glucose monitor or insullin pump screens. That would be the most valuable app on the market for blind diabetics if you could manage to do it. The number one cause of adult blindness is diabetes and there are very, very few options for us. I appreciate your time and effort in replying and all the hard work you are doing with the app!

    16. Timon says:

      could you give some info on the features of the upcoming release of SayText?
      Will it support more languages for OCR? (Dutch?)

      Thanks for your work,