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Speakbook – Crowdsourcing AAC Translations


Ace Centre’s vision is to help create a society where everyone is given the support they need to communicate, be understood and fulfil their potential. To do this means the process of supporting people doesn’t stop when we put a resource out but that we give ongoing support and continually look to make improvements. We don’t want to do this in isolation; there is a vast network of family members and professionals in the field across the globe who can help us to build better communication resources … translation to support different languages is just one way to make our resources better and allow them to be used by more people.

Speakbook is a perfect example of this. A free and simple communication tool developed by Patrick Joyce who had Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and realised that there was a need for a  low-cost and easy-to-use way of communicating for people who can read and spell but struggle to point with their finger or hand. So, he developed a template for a communication book which is used with eye pointing and can be quickly and easily populated with personalised messages. While Patrick originally developed Speakbook for people who have MND it has proven to be useful for anyone who is literate and requires a communication tool that they can access with their eyes. For years professionals in the community have been using and sharing Speakbook with families who have found it to be an invaluable resource.

A woman using Speakbook

When Patrick passed away we wanted to ensure his work, impact and inspiration continued. With the permission and support of Patrick’s family we’ve created a space for people to continue to access and download Speakbook free of charge.  As the original project was under an open licence we’ve been able to continue his work and reshare the project. This also means we can redevelop it to be available in more languages. Through crowd sourcing the Speakbook has been translated and adapted and is now available in 10 languages (Afrikaans, English, French, German, Maltese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish & Zulu) – in both ‘colour’ and ‘colour blind friendly’ versions. You can download all language versions of Speakbook here.

“As a therapist supporting individuals across different socio-economic circumstances, in a country with 11 official languages, translating the Speakbook into Afrikaans was easy and quick.  Being able to offer a quality free resource in a client’s first language has made such a tremendous difference to many.”  – Emma Emmerich, OT, Inclusive Solutions, South Africa


“The Speakbook will allow Maltese speakers to communicate with a system using their native language, which up till now these speakers have limited ways in doing so. Hence, it will be an essential tool for whoever makes use of it.”  -Martina Zarb & Amber Busuttil, SaLT, Access to Communication and Technology Unit, Malta

We would love to see this project continue to grow. If you are able to  provide a translation of Speakbook in another language, please join the project here. Simply use the website to create your version by adding your translations. We know that many versions require subtle changes e.g., different keyboard layouts or different words, which we can support, please get in touch to discuss at [email protected]