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
Tel.: 046 622 7226

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

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
Tel.: 046 622 7226

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.