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The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 13

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 13
May 2014

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for the Blind on behalf of The South African Braille Authority

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

How time flies. It is hard to believe that we are approaching the halfway mark of the year and it is again time for me to write the Louis Braille bulletin.

Despite good work being done with regard to development of braille code, it can be said that a great deal of work still awaits us, in particular work regarding the promotion of braille and continued assurance of quality in the teaching of braille.

As a powerful tool of communication braille remains the only way for children who are blind to learn to read and become literate.

In this issue of the Louis braille Bulletin we will inform you of the latest Duxbury braille translation software and tables and give the results of the top candidates in the elementary and braille examinations for 2013.
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We trust you will find this issue of the Louis Braille bulletin informative.

Keep reading and writing braille.

To receive a copy of the Louis Braille Bulletin contact:

Pasha Alden (national braille consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
GRAHAMSTOWN
6140
Tel.: 046 6227 226
E-mail: pasha.alden@salb.org.za

Elementary Braille Examinations 2014

We wish to advise that the elementary braille examinations were written on 6 and 7 March 2014. This year 87 candidates participated. Candidates wrote in Afrikaans, English, IsiXhosa and Sepedi.

We advise educators that the higher braille examination will be written during July 2014.

Braille Examination Results 2013

Pioneer School took the lion’s share of the honours.

The results for Afrikaans

Our congratulations to First place and prize winner Carel Roos of the Pioneer School who achieved a distinction; John Salie in second place, who also achieved a distinction and in third place for Afrikaans candidates Nazain Van Den Heever of the Pioneer School.

For the English examinations the results were as follows:
In first place, prize winner ,Caitlyn Le Grange, Arthur Blaxall, pass with distinction
In second place, Tayla R kuilders of the Pioneer School, and in third Place Ntokozo Xaba, of Sibonile School.

Candidates who wrote the higher braille Examination Results 2013 achieved the following results in English and Afrikaans.
In first place Chante Adams of the Pioneer school,
In second place Karin Van Wyk, also of the Pioneer school, and in third place Jay-Lee Ephraim of Pioneer school.
Candidates who wrote the higher braille examinations in English achieved the following results:
In first place Tsholofelo Petronela Mashumu, of Siloé School, who achieved a distinction. (prize winner)
In second place Sisipho Khubukele, of Pioneer School, and in third place for the English candidates
Jo-Lize Bronkhorst of Pioneer School.

We congratulate all learners and the educators on the fine results and encourage them to continue the good work. We look forward to follow learners writing braille and to see which school will grab the lion’s share of the honours in 2014

Duxbury 11.2 available now

We advise all educators and producers that Duxbury 11.2 is available.

The updated translation tables are available from the Braille Consultancy.

For further details contact:

Susan van Wyk
Braille Services
Tel.: 011 8391 793
E-mail: susan@blindsa.org.za

SABA MEETING

To all stakeholders we advise that the next meeting of SABA will take place in October 2014.

The South African Braille Authority welcomes wider participation. Producers and schools and other stakeholders involved with the teaching and promotion of braille are urged to join.

To register as a member of SABA contact the Secretary:

Mr Derick Greef
E-mail: 1ders@cybersmart.co.za

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 11

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 11

July 2012

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
on behalf of
The South African Braille Authority

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

It is hard to believe that we have already passed the halfway mark of a very full and exciting braille year.

In this issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin we will give you news of the 5th general assembly of the International Council on English Braille, The formation of SABA (The South African Braille Authority) and answer braille related queries.

We trust you will find this issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin informative.

To receive a copy of The Louis Braille Bulletin contact:

Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
Po Box 115
GRAHAMSTOWN
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@salb.org.za
SA Hosts 5th General Assembly of ICEB

The 5th general assembly of the International Council on English Braille (from hereon called ICEB) took place from 5-10 May in Johannesburg. The assembly was attended by delegations from English speaking countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US and neighbouring countries. Among government officials attending the assembly was the Deputy Minister of the Department Arts and Culture, Dr. Joe Paahla, and Mr. Andre Roos. Observers in attendance were from South Africa and neighbouring countries Botswana and Zimbabwe.

The 5th general assembly of ICEB afforded stakeholders an opportunity to learn from each other, strengthen work relating to braille, and highlight the role of braille in the lives of users. In light of this the promotion and teaching of braille was emphasized strongly during the 5th general assembly of ICEB.

During the assembly delegates of represented countries at ICEB tabled their reports and highlighted braille projects of the past four years.

Highlights from country reports included worldwide events organized in celebration of the Bicentenary birth of Louis braille which provided opportunity to create greater awareness of braille as means of literacy for the blind.

The successful implementation of UEB in countries such as New Zealand and Australia where it is noted that young braille users have coped well and moved seamlessly in to UEB literary braille, while technical braille is phased in gradually.

A country report from Canada highlighted the availability of a tactile graphics guidelines document to facilitate standardization of tactile graphics.

Twelve papers were presented at the ICEB general assembly. Three papers from South Africa were presented and nine from other countries. Papers covered a range of topics such as International Certification for Braille Transcribers, Rapid Braille: Automated Translation with DAISY XML into UEB, Braille on iOS Devices, Braille Literacy Education, Future of Refreshable Braille, Standardizing Professional Competency in Braille, Teaching Braille to Adults in SA.

Resolutions of the 5th General Assembly of the ICEB

The 5th General Assembly of ICEB resolved to:

• Request that the WBU establish the World Braille Council as a permanent committee of the WBU with consideration given to enabling sufficient resources to undertake realistic charges.
• Appoint a member of the ICEB Executive to serve on the World Braille Council.
• Monitor the continued development of the World Braille Council with a view to establishing closer cooperation between ICEB and the Council.
• Appoint the President of ICEB to liaise with the DAISY Consortium with the aim of creating cohesion between the aspirations of ICEB and the DAISY Consortium.
• Work with the DAISY Consortium to ensure that publishing standards and reading solutions incorporate improved support for the publishing and reading of braille.
• Encourage the promotion of braille publishing and reading through the DAISY Consortium’s communications channels.
• Support the WBU and the World Braille Council in developing a plan to take advantage of the terms of the Convention in promoting the worldwide use of braille and the right of persons who are blind to have access to braille.
• Monitor the reports of English-speaking countries for items relating to the use of braille in those countries, informing the WBU of countries where braille does not get the prominence expected under the Convention.
• Promote UEB as a code which effectively increases the learning and use of braille, and reduces the costs of production. Gather braille promotional material from member countries and associated organizations for use by the Public Relations Officer in promotional activities.
• Direct the Executive to focus on the promotion of UEB in developing countries as a high priority for ICEB’s work over the next quadrennium by means including engagement:
• With WBU and ICEVI at the global, regional and sub-regional levels to raise their awareness of UEB and advocate for its adoption, with opinion leaders at national level with a view to the adoption of UEB in target countries, and with those international organisations that support the production and teaching of braille in developing countries to raise their awareness about the utility of UEB and direct the Executive to use its best endeavours to develop and promote easy-to-read UEB related learning and production materials to assist braille producers in developing countries. Direct the Executive to develop a database of donor organisations able to assist the production, teaching or promotion of braille in developing countries.
• Establish a committee to investigate the feasibility of ICEB becoming an international certifying body for braille transcription in UEB.
• Liaise with member Braille Authorities in developing countries and international donor organizations to develop criteria and strategies to end the communication gap between donors and recipients.
• Consider the creation of a fund to support greater access to braille in developing countries.
• Support the immediate formulation of requirements in the sphere of refreshable braille to make these devices more affordable and user-friendly.
• Advocate for producers of braille technology to add support for UEB in their devices.
• Encourage manufacturers of consumer products to add braille to their products whenever possible and ensure that the braille on these products is correct by consulting with braille authorities and other experts as appropriate.

South Africa forms a braille authority

On 4 May 2012 the braille committee known as Braille SA was officially dissolved, followed by the formation of the South African Braille Authority (from hereon called SABA).

Saba will function with a constitution and an executive committee who will be responsible for braille related governance.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I contract “te” in “teks”?
A: The contraction “te” is not used in “teks.” However, it can be used in words such as “integrale”, “wortel” and “teleurgestel”.

Braille Examinations

After a period of review the braille examinations were written in March of this year. The answer scripts are being marked and it is hoped to have results out by end September.

For further information contact:

Reshmika Dowling
The South African National Council for the Blind
Tel: 012 452 3811
e-mail: mika@sancb.org.za

Meeting of SABA

We wish to advise stakeholders, producers and teachers that the next meeting of SABA will take place on 15-16 October at the Athlone School.

For further details please contact:

Derick Greeff (Secretary of SABA)
e-mail: Zs1der@cybersmart.co.za

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 9

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 9
July 2011
Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
on behalf of
Braille SA
Letter from the Editor
Dear Readers
This issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin will focus on answering braille queries, report on the current status of the braille examinations, highlight important facts about braille, provide tips on caring for your Perkins brailler and inform you on international braille news.
I trust you will find this issue informative.

To receive a copy of {{italic[}}The Louis Braille Bulletin{{]italic}} contact
Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115 GRAHAMSTOWN 6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@salb.org.za

Treat Your Perkins Politely
“Treat your Perkins Politely,” as advised by a young braille reader, a winner in the braille writing competition of the Louis Braille bicentenary celebrations in 2009. The following tips will help you do just that.
1. The Perkins Brailler is stored in a clean dry place and covered when not in use
2. The brailler is handled with clean dry hands
3. When writing pressure on the keys is firm, never hard.
4. When transported it is best to have a carry case in order to protect the brailler from bumping against walls and objects and being damaged.
5. When not in use the carriage of the brailler should rest against the righthand margin. This releases pressure on the spring mechanism driving the carriage.
6. To ensure your Perkins brailler is always ready for use it is important to have it cleaned and maintained as regularly as possible.

The above tips will ensure that your brailler remains in fine working condition and ready for daily use.

Braille Examinations
The braille examinations are currently under review and a discussion document was circulated for comment by braille users, educators and braille instructors by no later than 23 July.
For more information contact:
Pasha Alden
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@salb.org.za

The Duxbury Braille Translation tables
The Duxbury translation tables were recently updated to address problems experienced with quotes and footnotes.
To receive a copy of the updated translation tables contact:
Pasha Alden
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-Mail: pasha.alden@salb.org.za

Congress Braille21 Leipzig 27-30 September
A Braille Congress, presented by the World Blind Union will take place in Leipzig from 27-30 September.
Themes discussed at the Congress include education and literacy, vocational training, employment and lifelong learning, research and development, improving, access to information, and braille as a part of universal design.

Questions and Answers
Q.: When do I teach the learner to write braille?A.: The learner should only be taught to write with the Perkins Brailler once words and sentences in grade one can be read with confidence.

Did You know
– That Duxbury 11.1 is available;
– That a braille rules list is available for comment and discussion of braille rules and braille related matters;
– That there is only one fully trained transcriber of music braille in South Africa?

Meeting of Braille SA

We wish to advise educators, braille producers and stakeholder organisations that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place on 13-14 October.
For further information please contact:
Susan van Wyk (Secretary Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 839 1793

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 7

The Louis Braille Bulletin

No 7

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
on behalf of
Braille SA

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

It is a pleasure to keep you informed on technical Braille matters and provide news as we conclude the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Louis Braille.

Looking back on 2009 we have many highlights to reflect on. The Bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Louis Braille, in Paris, where important decisions were taken about the future of braille. The Braille conference hosted by Arthur Blaxall School, and the SANCB Biennial where an in-depth look into the challenges facing braille received priority and again emphasised the importance of training, implementation and monitoring in terms of service delivery. It is important to keep in mind that the outcome of our work is measured by every blind learner who achieves their potential; which remains impossible without Braille.

A further highlight was the gala dinner hosted by the SANCB to celebrate the 80th birthday of SANCB and the bicentenary of Louis Braille. On this occasion the author of “louis Braille, A touch of Genius” Mr C Michael Mellor presented a talk on the life and work of Louis Braille, and emphasised the significant contribution made by Louis Braille to the lives of blind people.

However, The future of Braille remains in the hands of readers, users, teachers and producers who are custodians of the legacy bequeathed to us by Louis Braille.
At the Braille conference held 5-8 January in Paris Dr Euclid Herrie pointed out that each time hands move gracefully across a Braille page a monument to Louis Braille continues to be built.

As we celebrate the 201st birth of Louis Braille on four January,let us continue to remember the importance of Braille, to blind learners. In light of the above I share with the reader an incident experienced as a learner in primary school.

A youngster perhaps in grade three, I was lounging in the play room of the infamous Malan House contemplating my homework. That day the teacher labelled our school bags with our names in braille. As I pulled my school bag closer a new voice greeted. I said “hello, what’s your name?” her answer: “read it on my bag”.
And that is what I did. All introductions over we did our homework and it was time to play with my new- found friend Janine!

Finally, let us remember the important role of the Educator and their attitude towards Braille and the way it shapes the lives of so many learners!

In the sixth issue of the Louis Braille Bulletin we will inform on the Braille writing competition winners, decisions taken on Braille, and ensure that you remain updated regarding Braille-related software and Braille translation tables.

We trust that you will find the sixth issue of the Louis Braille bulletin informative and interesting.

We wish you and your loved ones a prosperous and peaceful 2010.

For queries and input on the Louis Braille Bulletin please contact:

Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
GRAHAMSTOWN
6140
Tel.: 046 6227 226
E-mail: Pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za
Or
Pasha.alden@salb.org.za

Meetings of Braille SA

Stakeholder organisations are advised that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place in May 010.

Braille SA meets twice a year. Organisations are responsible for the travel cost of delegations.

The meeting is an excellent opportunity for all who work in the field of braille to meet and discuss braille related matters and contribute to the future of teaching and production of Braille. We wish to encourage principals at schools and member organisations to send Braille experts to the meeting of Braille SA.

For further details contact:

Ms Susan van Wyk (Secretary of Braille SA)
Braille Services
Tel. 011 8391 793
E-mail: susan@blindsa.org.za
or
Mr Christo De Klerk (Chairman Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 3508 132

BRAILLE WRITING COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

After much deliberation the adjudication of Braille essays is finally a thing of the past, we are pleased to announce the following winners of the braille essay competition:

In the primary school category, Bhekani Ngcobo (best Braille)
Robyn Waters for content.

In the High School category, Louzanne Coetzee wins the prize for best content and Sydney Berrington from Pioneer School wins the prize for best Braille.

In the open category Hanlie dippenaar wins the prize for content, while Razia Ismael wins the prize for best braille.

In the professional category Mr Phulani Matshaya scoops the prize for content and creativity while Ms Sophia moosa takes honours for best braille.

We congratulate all winners and hope that Braille will continue to be a “brailleant part of their lives”.

Duxbury Braille translation tables

Educators and producers please be advised that DBT 10.7 service pack 1 is now available. Educators and producers should keep in mind that earlier versions of Duxbury Braille translation tables are no longer supported and maintained.

When installing your translation tables be sure that they are copied to your programme files in your Duxbury folder. Note, take care to install the file named weebee. As this file allows the execution of updated braille translation tables.
As some work is needed with regard to importing word documents into Duxbury, some errors occur during braille translation. Please report all translation errors to the National Braille Consultant, so that these can be corrected in future updates of the Duxbury programme and the translation tables.

The braille translation tables are available at no cost from the National Braille Consultancy.

In order to receive most up to date versions of translation tables contact:

Pasha alden (National Braille Consultant)
South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
GRAHAMSTOWN
6140
Tel.: 046 6227 226
E-mail> Pasha.alden@salb.org.za

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: How can I produce correct quotes in a Word document to translate correctly as the non specific quotes in UBC?
A.: with numlock on, hold down the alt key and press 145. This will produce quotes that are correct in the print document and will translate correctly into the non specific quote in UBC.

Q.: Where can I find Braille systems for different languages?

A.: Braille systems for French, and German can be obtained on the BAUK Website. Go to www.bauk.org where a .brf file can be downloaded.
A further code reference is the book titled World Braille Usage, containing different alphabets.

Russian, welsh and greek alphabets can be found in the code book titled: British Braille: A Restatement 2004.

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 5

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 5
June 2009
Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
in collaboration with
Braille SA

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

I trust that the winter chill has not affected the sense of touch and that you are staying warm and reading your favourite book.
As I write this issue of the Louis Braille Bulletin I reflect with pride on all the historical events that are taking place during this year as we commemorate the bicentenary birth of Louis Braille.
Despite celebrations, one hear statements about the end of braille due to the increase in the use of technology.
When hearing these remarks we may feel indignant, perhaps ready to debate the point fiercely or shrug it off as an unfounded remark, which of course it is, because no print reader has put aside a hard copy, nor pen and paper due to greater accessthrough the use of technology. Why should braille be different?
Considering the history of braille we become aware that Louis Braille, a bright student, listened to lessons in class and was able to write print letters, though he knew that these methods of learning would be impractical in the long run. On the other hand he knew that despite the practicality of the braille system braille by itself would be less effective and would require other technologies to enable braille readers to communicate effectively with print readers. Louis Braille worked tirelessly, often under trying circumstances with others to design practical ways of communication with print readers, such as the first dot matrix printer, known as the raphigraphe, or needle point embosser, until the invention of the typewriter, the most practical and sophisticated technology for communicating with print readers.
At that time braille was not abandoned in favour of communicating with print readers by way of the raised print letter; nor was it abandoned in favour of using the human voice to read text; or scribes writing texts for the blind. On the contrary, at the time these methods were found most unsatisfactory, as scribes were often semi-literate and the blind person had little or no control over basic communication such as writing letters and the like. What is clear is that braille existed alongside other technologies and methods of providing access to information and triumphed despite fierce resistance.

for this reason, braille is literacy and independent living. To the student who is blind braille is the layout and spelling of words and the submission of quality work to lecturers. To the person in rural areas, a well loved story as the wind howls through the candle lit homes of informal settlements, to the fortunate few, an electronic braille or print file read on a refreshable braille display. Alongside other technologies, such as computers and daisy, braille remains a dynamic living script — nothing short of a power house.

In the fifth issue of the Louis Braille Bulletin we interview one of the seasoned braille transcribers of the SA Library for the Blind; a braille proof reader from Braille Services, provide interesting facts about Louis Braille, inform on Louis Braille Bicentenary celebrations and answer braille queries.

We trust you will find the fifth issue of {{italic[}}The Louis Braille Bulletin{{]italic}} interesting and informative.

Direct queries to:
Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
South African Library for the Blind
P O Box 115
GRAHAMSTOWN
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

BRAILLE WRITING COMPETITION
We are pleased to inform readers that we received 76 entries among these essays in the languages of Afrikaans English, TshiVenda, and SeSwati, IsiXhosa. The essays will now be adjudicated. We thank all those who submitted entries and wish them best of luck and look forward to reading the essays!

Dale Meiring — part of a legacy of Access
Pasha Alden Talks to Dale Meiring braille transcriber of the SA Library for the Blind
Pasha:
How did you become a braille transcriber?

Dale:
At the age of ten years on a family holiday I spent a night with a cousin who at the time was learning braille and although she gave it up, I was intrigued and it must have made a lasting impression on me, because over 20 years later, living on a remote farm in the Alexandria district, with two young children and time on my hands, I made enquiries at the SA Library for the Blind, collected my Perkins brailler and so began my long association with braille.
Pasha:
For how long have you transcribed books into braille?
Dale:
I have been a braille transcriber since 1978, so I have been transcribing into braille for 31 years.
Pasha:
What was most difficult about braille?
Dale:
It is hard for me to pinpoint what was the most difficult thing about braille. Perhaps the idea of only using 6 keys and the fact that everything, from maths symbols to contractions could be configured out of six dots.
I found I had to become very disciplined, not to mention being a perfectionist in the days of transcribing on the Perkins brailler.
Pasha:
What was your favourite book to transcribe?
Dale:
It is a tall order to point out my favourite book, though I think it was World Sporting records. I enjoyed transcribing that title as it was challenging and it contained many tables.
Pasha:
What is the best thing about braille?
Dale:
For me there is the satisfaction of knowing I’m involved in something worthwhile. On a personal level, I really enjoy the mornings that I set aside for braille when I can shut the world out and continue brailling while tolerating no interruptions regardless of what happens around me.
Pasha:
You received an award for braille transcription an the bicentenary birth year of Louis Braille. What does this mean to you?
Dale:
There has always been a sense of satisfaction in doing braille, though surprisingly, I have had minimal contact with persons who are blind so the speech made by Judge Yacoob at the award ceremony brought home to me what braille means to persons who are blind. To hear the view of judge Yacoob about braille transcribers was moving for me. The award was a complete surprise and means a great deal to me. The recognition of course is a bonus.

Louis Braille: an indellible memory
On the 11th May the bicentenary birth of Louis Braille was commemorated as friends and colleagues within the braille fraternity attended the unveiling of the new name of the building formerly known to all as Braille Services; from here on to be known as Louis Braille House.
Guests received a memento, one of 200 bottles of wine labelled in braille which read “Louis Braille 200, and each bottle was numbered from one to two-hundred.

Wellington Pike — A legacy of enduring quality
Pasha Alden talks to Wellington Pike, proofrader at Braille services
Pasha:
How did you become involved in braille proofreading?
Wellington:
A former pupil of the Efata School for the Blind, I was contacted by Mandla Khwela and referred by him as a possible candidate for the post at Braille Services as he left for KwaZulu Natal, to take up missionary work.
Pasha:
What was difficult for you about braille?
Wellington:
I learnt braille at school and it was never difficult for me. However, a difficulty was becoming accustomed to “proofreading” as it is different to merely reading braille as a reader as you find errors while maintaining speed by way of anticipation.
Pasha:
How do you view the developments in braille?
Wellington:
I think that older readers find the changes challenging, especially those who have used braille for a long time. Our challenge is now to familiarise these readers with the braille changes.
On the other hand it is good that braille resembles print more faithfully.
Pasha:
What do you consider to be a highlight of your thirty year career?
Wellington:
There were many, such as meeting Nelson Mandela to hand over the braille copy of A long Walk to Freedom, accompanying Willem Boshoff, sculptor of the braille alphabet, to the US. Lastly, but not least, I was privileged to be instrumental in the publication of a braille magazine titled Braille Trumpet and since its publication in 1998 work as part of the editorial team alongside Johannes Dube and Patricia Mceka.
Pasha:
A braille proof reader for thirty years, what does it mean to you to receive your thirty year service award in the Louis Braille bicentenary year?
Wellington:
The contribution that Louis Braille made was significant and I shared in that by means of access to braille books from the SA Library for the blind. It means a great deal to have overcome challenges and to be involved with supplying quality braille and making an enduring contribution.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q.: When transcribing an Afrikaans text may I contract in in the word fine?
A.: Five or fewer foreign words occurring in an Afrikaans text may be contracted in accordance with the spirit of Afrikaans, E.G. find contracted, fine in contracted pool oo contracted.
Q.: How do I braille a crossword puzzle?
A.: A transcriber’s note is inserted to indicate the symbols used in the crossword puzzle. To indicate a filled block dots use 123456;
To indicate an unoccupied block use dots 346;

Duxbury braille TRANSLATION TABLES
Braille producers and Educators are advised that the braille translation tables can be obtained from the National Braille Consultancy.
Be advised that the translation tables will only work if you have installed Duxbury 10.6 or later versions
For further information contact:
Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)The South African Library for the BlindP O Box 115GRAHAMSTOWN6140Tel.: 046 622 7226E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

Louis Braille
Did you know
– That the braille system was developed before the 16th birthday of Louis Braille? • That the palm leaves on the uniform of Louis Braille symbolised learning?
– Louis Braille is buried in the Pantheon in Paris, but on requests of residents of his home town his hands remained in Coupvray?

MEETING OF BRAILLE SA
Stakeholder organisations are advised that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place in Worcester on 27 and 28 October.
we urge school principals and heads of stakeholder organisations to send braille experts.
For further information contact:
Ms Susan van Wyk (Secretary Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 839 1793
E-mail: susan@blindsa.org.za

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 4

The Louis Braille Bulletin

No 4

February 2009

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
in collaboration with
Braille SA

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

As I write this issue of the Louis Braille Bulletin, I reflect on braille activities of the previous year. Much has been accomplished. Highlights on the braille calendar of 2008 included braille training workshops and the expansion of strategies for implementation of the Unified Braille Code. Furthermore, the year 2008 saw the planning of the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Louis Braille.
However festive the events are, the conference “Braille 1809-2009 – Writing with 6 dots and its future”, held in Paris in January of this year, highlighted the importance of braille as a key component of literacy. Much work needs to be done to ensure that the basic human right of literacy and intellectual freedom, a legacy bequeathed to us by Louis Braille, continues to be enjoyed by persons who are blind.

In South Africa we need to continue to advocate for correct braille standards, a best practice document for teaching braille and adequate provision of textbooks in braille.

The Louis Braille Bicentenary celebrations taking place this year present an excellent opportunity for addressing the abovementioned matters, as they provide the platform for raising greater awareness of the role of braille in the lives of persons who are blind.

This issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin will have a more celebratory note, as we acknowledge the contribution of Louis Braille, give tips on caring for your braille books, inform readers of plans for the Louis Braille bicentenary celebrations and deal with braille queries.

Direct comments and queries to:

Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel: 046 622 7226
E-Mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

LOUIS BRAILLE A
LASTING LEGACY

Hazel Marshall, braille promotor and past president of Blind SA reflects on the legacy of Louis Braille, as she recalls the joys of teaching braille as a volunteer

Although teaching braille is pretty hard work, there is an enormous reward in guiding another person to independence through literacy. The most important lesson I learnt while teaching 40 to 50 individual students over a period of some four decades, is that it is not so much a matter of teaching but rather a process of enabling the student to learn. This process is greatly enhanced when the student is motivated by some specific goal such as obtaining a career or study opportunity.

To me, each student has been someone special, but space does not allow mention of more than three.

Patrick’s ambition to serve the church was devastated in his sixth year of theological studies by an illness which robbed him of his vision and three short years later of his life. But in the course of those three years mastering braille in three months allowed him to be ordained and to make a profound impact on the lives of many in his short term as a parish priest.

Then there was Robert, a medical laboratory technician, whose failing sight caused him to switch to physiotherapy. Braille was compulsory for entry to the training course and, amazing as it may seem, he learnt the entire English grade 2 system in a week, set off to study in London shortly afterwards, qualified in due course and became a well known practitioner in England. The actual implementation of what he had absorbed in a week would, of course, take much longer.

A more recent star has been Ntombozuko, a young partially sighted woman who chose to learn English and Xhosa braille because of her progressive eye condition. After four months, she was already starting to borrow library books and reading them with pleasure and satisfaction.

The list could go on and on, with many students achieving remarkable personal success and some passing on their braille skills to others.

BRAILLE WRITING COMPETITION

The South African Library for the Blind and Blind SA supported by the SA National Council for the Blind have launched a national braille writing competition for persons who are blind, or use braille. The competition will coincide with the international bicentenary celebration of Louis Braille’s birthday during 2009.

The competition will officially start on the 1st of November 2008 and the closing date will be the 30th of April 2009.

The theme of the competition is “My Brailleant Life / My Braillejante Lewe / Ubomi bam be Braille obuyismangaliso” and focuses on the significant role of braille in the lives of persons who are blind.

The competition will be divided into four categories; primary school learners (grades 1-7), secondary school learners (Grades 8-12), and an open category for adults, and professional persons in the field of braille, such as teachers, braillists and proofreaders.

Contestants will have to submit an essay of between 200 and 500 words. The winner for the primary school category will receive R1,000, R2,000 for the secondary school category and R5,000 for the Open and Professional categories. Each contestant will receive a framed certificate for their participation in the competition.

Entries for the competition will only be allowed in braille – either produced on a Perkins brailler or using a slate and stylus.
Entries will be accepted in either the Unified Braille Code, or Non-Unified braille code and in any of the eleven official languages. Entries for primary school learners may be submitted in contracted, or uncontracted braille. All submissions in the other categories should be submitted in contracted braille only.

The adjudication of the essay will focus on the quality of written braille.

For further information, please contact:

Christo de Klerk (Chairperson Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 350 8132
E-mail: christod@absa.co.za
or
Mark Sunners
South African Library for the Blind
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: mark.sunners@blindlib.org.za

CARING FOR YOUR BRAILLE BOOK

Did you know that there are ways to prolong the life of your favourite braille book? In this article we shall give some handy hints to teachers and readers to ensure that dictionaries, much loved classics and educational material are preserved for the next two hundred years.

Firstly, learners should be taught the value of books and that braille production is costly.

Learners of a young age should be taught that braille books are always handled with clean, dry hands.

Readers should “stroke” the page when turning it. Doing so will prevent tearing of the page.

When packing books, be sure that there is sufficient space to fit the book into a bookshelf or bag, as forcing the thick volume into a tiny space may cause damage to the cover, spine and braille dots.

Braille books are stored in a clean, dry place. When storing braille books, ensure that the bookshelf has a book stand. This will ensure that the books stay in the upright position and prevent damage to the book.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q.: May I contract “deur” in Afrikaans?

A.: The contraction for “deur” may be used as a word or at the beginning of a word, e.g. “deurknop”. However, it may not be used in, or at the end of a word as it could be confused with a full stop.

Q.: When can I contract “was” in Afrikaans?

A.: The contraction for “was” may be used as a word, or as part of a word. e.g. “kwas”, “waspop” or “volwasse”. However, when writing words such as “wasig” or “wasem” “was” should not be contracted.

MEETINGS OF BRAILLE SA

Stakeholders are advised that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place on 11-12 May at the Willowpark Conference Centre and resort.
We wish to encourage Principals and heads of stakeholder organisations to send braille experts.

For further information please contact:

Susan van Wyk (Secretary Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 839 1793
E-mail: Susan@blindsa.org.za

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 3

The Louis Braille Bulletin
No 3
July 2008

Compiled and distributed by

The South African Library for

the Blind

in collaboration with

Braille SA
Letter from the Editor
Dear readers
It is hard to believe that we have already passed the halfway mark of 2008. Time is surely flying.
With the bicentenary birthday celebration of Louis Braille approaching, I reflect on the history of braille. Its humble beginning as the compact, six-dot braille cell; its struggle for acceptance among blind users as medium of communication and education. Its evolution, facilitated by great work from our pioneers that brought us braille systems for eleven official languages in South Africa, maths, science, music, phonetic and computer signs. Its further fifteen-year evolution culminating in a flexible, unambiguous, unified code. Braille has gone from strength to strength and we have made great strides in its development.
As we continue to promote and facilitate the use of braille while enjoying the benefits of literacy and intellectual freedom bequeathed to us by its inventor, let us keep in mind the words of the educator Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”.
This issue of The Louis Braille Bulletin will focus on more extensive implementation plans for the Unified Braille Code in South Africa, the preparation of a brochure on the history of braille development in South Africa, celebrations planned for the Louis Braille bicentenary, braille examinations available in African languages and also answer braille questions from producers and readers.
I trust that you will find the third issue of {{italic[}}The Louis Braille Bulletin{{]italic}} informative.

For comments and questions contact:

Pasha Alden
The South African Library for the Blind
P O Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q.:When print leaves a blank line to indicate a paragraph do we follow the print and leave a blank line in the braille edition?
A.: According to the rules contained in {{italic[}}Braille in SA{{]italic}} paragraph 9.1 a paragraph is indicated by indenting two spaces from the lefthand margin with the paragraph beginning in cell three. There are no blank lines between paragraphs in braille.
Q.: When writing the word “d’you” do I need the letter sign?
A.: No letter sign is needed before the letter “d”, as the letter sign is used to distinguish a letter from a contraction. In the case of “d’you” the letter “d” cannot be confused with a contraction.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE UNIFIED BRAILLE CODE IN SOUTH AFRICA
As countries where English is spoken as first and second language move towards implementation of the Unified Braille Code, it was decided at the recent meeting of Braille SA, the standard setting body for braille in South Africa, to implement the Unified Braille Code for all grades for literary braille while the technical component, such as signs for maths and science will be phased in gradually. As learners progress through their grades, the old maths and science codes will be phased out and replaced from the lower grades upwards by the technical portion of the Unified Braille Code.
A significant advantage of this approach is that it will prove less confusing for braille teachers and instructors as they will not have to teach two separate codes for different grades.
Braille transcribers will need to know only one code.
THE UNIFIED BRAILLE PRIMER AUSTRALIAN EDITION AVAILABLE NOW
The Unified Braille Primer Australian Edition is available in PDF, MSWord and BRF files.
The braille version consists of three files in brf format and has been formatted for 42 characters per line and 25 lines per page.
The document can be read with a braille display, but keep in mind that if you wish to print the primer, be sure that your braille embosser is set up to print these dimensions.
An electronic copy of the braille primer is available at the Braille Consultancy.
For further information about the primer please contact:
Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

UBC IMPLEMENTATION
Pasha Alden talks to braille producers, readers and braille instructors about implementation of the Unified Braille Code for the first three grades
Pasha: What do you like best about the Unified Braille Code?
Marius: I like the simplicity of the system, the fact that we no longer need to remember different signs for different braille codes for the same sign in print.
Angela: I like the capitals passage indicator, it sure saves space.
Phumlani: The system is more logical and learners now know about signs for different typeforms, such as underline, bold and the like.
Pasha: How are learners coping with the code?
Phumlani: They are coping just fine. They like the new sign for the ellipsis and of course the nine contractions we have abolished.
Pasha: How do you see braille production affected by the Unified Braille Code?
Angela: At first it could prove tricky for some of our transcribers who have used the current system for so long to make the change.
Marius: In the short-term there will be some growing pains, as is often the case with change. However, long-term benefits such as streamlined production, with fewer braille rules to master and less human intervention cannot be ignored.

THE HISTORY OF BRAILLE DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
Do you wish to know more about the history of braille development in South Africa? How generations of blind people learned to read and write?
Then you will be pleased to learn that at a meeting of Braille SA it was decided to compile a brochure on the history of braille development in South Africa.
The brochure will cover braille development, from the code itself to the development of braille production methods and embossers.
Should you have a contribution to make to the brochure please contact:
Mrs Reinette Popplestone
Tel.: 021 650 5090
E-mail: Reinette.popplestone@uct.ac.za

BRAILLE EXAMINATIONS AVAILABLE IN AFRICAN LANGUAGES
Educators and Braille Instructors, please be advised that braille examinations are available in the languages of Sepedi and IsiXhosa.
We request that Educators and Braille Instructors encourage learners to write these braille examinations.
For further information contact:
Dr Obert Maguvhe
Tel.: 012 452 3811
E-mail: Obert@sancb.org.za
or
Reshmika Ramchurran
Tel: 012 452 3811
E-mail: mika@sancb.org.za
MEETINGS OF BRAILLE SA
Educators, Braille Instructors and other stakeholder organisations please be advised that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place in Bloemfontein from 27-28 October 2008.
We wish to encourage principals and stakeholder organisations to send braille experts to the meeting.
For further information contact:
Susan van Wyk (Secretary Braille SA)
Tel.:011 839 1793
E-mail: susan@blindsa.org.za

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 2

The Louis Braille Bulletin

No 2
January 2008

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for the Blind
in collaboration with
Braille SA

Letter from The Editor

Dear Readers

After receiving positive feedback about the first edition of the Louis Braille Bulletin it is a pleasure to compile the secod.

In this issue we will read about the Unified Braille Code (UBC) workshop, the implementation strategy of the Unified Braille Code, and inform readers of further advantages of the Unified Braille Code.

We trust that you will find this issue as informative as the first.

Direct comments and letters to:

Pasha Alden (NationalBraille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

Questions and Answers

Q.: Are there further advantages of the Unified Braille Code?

A.: In the Unified Braille Code each print symbol is represented by a unique braille symbol. In the current code some braille symbols represent more than one print symbol. Correspondence between print and braille symbols allows for accuracy in transcription and translation from print to braille and back from braille to print. Back translation becomes significant in cases where a blind person is required to provide documentation in print, e.g. assignments in a mainstream school or at university, allowing greater accessibility and flexibility.

Q.: How do I write italicised text in the Unified Braille Code?

A.: The treatment of italics and other typeforms is different in UBC.
The italics indicator for a single character is dots 46-23. The italics indicator for a single word is dots 46-2. In the Unified Braille Code a word is defined as a string of characters ended by a space. The italics indicator for a passage, (more than 2 words) is dots 46-23-56. After the final word of an italicised passage dots 46-3 is used to terminate an italicised passage.

Q.: Do I always follow the print when representing different typefaces such as bold and italics?

A.: These are not necessarily to be used whenever the corresponding typeform is used in print but only when a distinction is significant. For example, print will commonly use a distinctive typeface for headings. This usage is generally
ignored in braille where formatting will distinguish the headings from the rest of text. A print change in typeform is considered significant if it indicates emphasis or shows distinction, e.g. foreign words in English text, titles within text, subject headings on paragraphs, silent thought, computer input distinguished from computer output, etc. If it cannot be determined if a typeform is significant, retain the change.

Q.: Should “braille” be written with a capital letter?

A.: Despite the fact that our reading and writing system braille is named after its inventor, it has become a word used so frequently, much like diesel engine and macadamised road. Keeping this in mind, we would write “braille” uncapitalised if it is not part of a heading, or does not occur at the beginning of a sentence.

Some dictionaries still spell “braille” with a capital letter, others do not. Braille SA follows an international trend by spelling “braille” uncapitalised, and we encourage this practice.

Meetings of Braille SA

To all educators, braille instructors and producers

Please be advised that the next meeting of Braille SA will take place on 8 and 9 May 2008 at the Institute for the Blind in Worcester.

We wish to encourage schools to send braille experts. 4

For further information contact:

Mr Christo de Klerk (Chairman of Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 350 8132
E-mail: cjdk@mweb.co.za

Duxbury Braille Translation Tables Available now
Readers and producers are advised that the Duxbury braille translation tables are available for the Unified Braille Code for English, Afrikaans and the Nguni languages, (Xhosa and Zulu).

Braille translation tables may be obtained at the Braille Consultancy, free of charge.

Note: These tables will only work if you have installed the latest version of the Duxbury translation software, version 10.6.

For further information about translation tables contact:

Pasha Alden
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

Feedback UBC Training Workshop

The Unified Braille Code will be implemented for the first three grades in 2008. In preparation for implementation, the South African National Council for the Blind hosted two training workshops for braille teachers.

We are pleased to report positive feedback from those who attended the training workshop.

Our thanks to facilitators Ms Botha, Mrs Van Niekerk and Ms Ismael and the South African National Council for the Blind for hosting the training workshop, and Braille Services for making training material available.

The Louis Braille Bulletin Volume 1

The Louis Braille Bulletin

Compiled and distributed by
The South African Library for
the Blind
in collaboration with
Braille SA

volume 1
July 2007

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers

As our braille code is evolving to accommodate the changes required to ensure ease of reading, teaching and production, it has become necessary to find a suitable mechanism by which to disseminate information about braille among braille readers and stakeholder organisations within the blindness sector.
So what is the purpose of the Louis Braille Bulletin? The purpose of the bulletin is to promote literacy for touch readers through the standardisation of braille codes; and to facilitate the use, teaching and production of braille by means of dissemination of information.

In this edition we will inform you about the UBC training workshop for teachers and attempt to answer a number of frequently asked questions about UBC.

I trust that you will find the bulletin helpful and informative.

Direct comments and letters to:
The Editor
Pasha Alden (National Braille Consultant)
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel.:046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

BRAILLE MATHEMATICS COMPENDIUM
AVAILABLE NOW

To all teachers, producers and readers of braille

A South African publication for teaching maths up to grade 12 is now available.

Compendium of Mathematics Braille, compiled by Lourens Botes, is based on Braille Mathematics Notation 2005, of the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom. Where South African usage differs from British braille the current South African rules and conventions apply.

The compendium can be purchased at Pioneer Printers.

For further information contact:

Mr Schalk Hugo
Tel.: 023 342 6313
E-mail: pioneerprinters@mweb.co.za

Frequently asked questions about
the Unified Braille Code

One of the core functions of the National Braille Consultancy is to lend advice and support with all braille related enquiries. The questions below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Unified Braille Code.

Q.: What are the reasons for a Unified Braille Code?

A.: There are two main braille jurisdictions for English braille codes: codes authorised by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), followed by Canada and the United States of America, and the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK), followed by Britain.
Codes for literary texts used in countries that follow BANA and BAUK are similar enough to be read in all the countries.

Though literary codes are similar, braille authorities of North America and the United Kingdom have developed separate codes for mathematics, science, and computer codes.
Such codes are not only incompatible with technical codes used elsewhere in the world, but each is incompatible with other technical codes within its own jurisdiction. So for example a learner in South Africa needs to master three different braille codes (four with music).

In 1992 the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) initiated the Unified Braille Code (UBC) research project. The main goal of the project was to develop a “base” code that could be used for literary braille, with symbols for mathematics, computer braille, etc. embedded in it, followed throughout the English speaking world.

Q.: What are the advantages of a unified braille code?

A.: Based on literary braille, the Unified Braille Code places emphasis on readability and strives to eliminate ambiguity for the braille reader.

Q.: How will the English braille code change?

A.: Only nine contractions have been abolished: ble, com, dd, ally, ation, to, into, by, and o’clock.

Q.: What are the reasons for abolishing these contractions?

A.: Because braille has so few symbols some function either as punctuation marks or as contractions, depending on the context. For instance dots 3-6 at the beginning of a word can mean the contraction for com or a
hyphen. This is also the case for contractions that use dot 6, e.g. {{italic-wd>}}ally and ation which may, due to the fact that capital letters occur within a word be read as internal capital letters. These context-based symbols can cause confusion.

Q.: What does the future hold for braille translation?

A.: The development of braille translation tables will in future take place with DBTwin 10.6. So it is necessary that all stakeholders upgrade to DBTwin 10.6.

Q.: What translation tables are available for the Unified Braille Code?

A.: Translation tables for the Unified Braille Code are available for English, Afrikaans and the Nguni languages, (Xhosa and Zulu), at the Braille Consultancy.

Q.: What changes are incorporated in our current tables?

a.: The current translation tables incorporate changes to the current codes, such as the abolition of el ver, and deur in the Afrikaans braille code.

For further information contact:

Pasha Alden
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za

UBC implemented in South Africa 2008

In 2004 the South African braille standard setting body, Braille SA voted in favour of the adoption of the Unified Braille Code.

The Unified Braille Code will be implemented in South Africa in 2008 for learners of the first three grades. In order to equip our teachers and braille instructors with the knowledge of UBC the SANCB will host two training workshops, of which the first will take place on 17-19 and the second on 19-21 September 2007, to be attended as teachers are able.

We wish to encourage principals at schools for the blind to send braille experts to attend this essential training course.
For further information about the training course contact:

Dr Obert Maguvhe
tel.: 012 452 3811
E-mail: obert@sancb.org.za

Meetings of Braille SA

To all principals, teachers, braille instructors and producers

Please be advised that the next meeting of Braille SA is to take place on 25 and 26 October 2007 at the South African National Council for the Blind.

We wish to encourage schools to send braille teachers and braille experts.

For further information contact:

Mr Christo de Klerk (Chairman of Braille SA)
Tel.: 011 350 8132
E-mail: cjdk@mweb.co.za

The Library Newsletter

Do you wish to have library facilities and news of new titles at your finger tips?

If so, the Library’s newsletter makwenzeke (Make it happen) is your gateway to all you wish to know about your library.
To receive the newsletter in audio, braille or print contact:

Mrs Busi Mbiyo
The South African Library for the Blind
PO Box 115
Grahamstown
6140
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-mail: busi.lungile@blindlib.org.za

Afrikaans

Aan alle braille-onderwysers -produsentes, -transkribeerders en -gebruikers

Die volgende veranderinge aan ons braillestelsel is onmiddellik van krag.

Die verkorting vir ver

Die verkorting vir ver word geskrap. Ons skryf dus woorde soos versit, vereniging en ver met die letters er verkort. Waar ‘n koppelteken aan die begin van ‘n woord ‘n weglating aandui, word die koppelteken nie meer verdubbel nie aangesien punte 3-6 slegs as ‘n koppelteken gelees kan word. Ons skryf dus stilstaan of -sit.

Die verkorting vir el

Die verkorting vir el word geskrap. Ons skryf dus woorde soos bel, geld en tel met el onverkort en verkort be in kabbel, te in wortel, ge in giggel.

Die verkorting vir deur
Die verkorting vir deur mag slegs alleenstaande of aan die begin van ‘n woord gebruik word. Ons skryf dus deurklokkie, met deur verkort, maar laat deur onverkort in voordeurklokkie.

Let daarop dat implementering van bostaande reëls onmiddellik van krag is. Vir brailletranskribeerders sodra ‘n nuwe titel geproduseer word.

Vir navrae oor veranderinge in braillegebruike kontak:

Pasha Alden (Nasionale BrailleKonsultant)
Tel.: 046 622 7226
E-pos: pasha.alden@blindlib.org.za