FORTRESS Systems has released its new multimedia text reading software, SounText, a Windows application that the company claims can read text from any Windows application in English, Mandarin, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The system uses patent-pending technology and meets the sound standards for compatibility with the upcoming update to Windows 3.1, known as Chicago. Patrick Ng, a representative of Asian Automation Associates, which distributes the package in Hong Kong, said SounText represented better quality and an easier-to-use approach to text reading than earlier packages. ''This is a better quality [product],'' he said. ''It is the first to work on Windows and, because it is in Windows, it is easy to use. You just use the mouse to click on the material you want. It takes five or 10 minutes to learn how to use.'' The first version provides the ability to adjust the voice's pitch and speed. English is read in a male voice, and there are plans to include a female English voice in the next version. A female voice reads in Chinese. In addition to the system's educational uses, Fortress Systems is promoting the product as a word-processing aid for proof reading. If there is a misspelled or incorrect word the user will be able to hear this immediately. The package includes an external speaker and a hardware key that is required to run the program. Japanese and Russian support will be available next year. SounText requires a 486-based personal computer and Windows 3.1. It will retail for $700 in Hong Kong.