Precise and detailed guidelines governing transcription of print to braille are set out in four code books: English Braille: American Edition, Music Braille Code, Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, and Computer Braille Code. Additional guidelines regarding formatting details, tactile illustrations and foreign languages supplement the English Braille: American Edition code book.
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) oversees standardization and updates of the codes and guidelines and offers most as free downloads on its website.
English Braille: American Edition
This code book presents the alphabet, numbers and punctuation as devised by Louis Braille. It sets out rules for the use of contractions, introduces special symbols such as those used for currency and weights and measures, and gives directions for basic formatting. It is used in the transcription of general literary materials such as books, letters, menus, newsletters, etc. Virtually anything in print can be transcribed into braille.
English Braille: American Edition is available as a free download from BANA.
The two braille volumes of Charlotte’s Web are transcribed in contracted English braille to meet standards set out in English Braille: American Edition. Typically, a print title page appears first; a braille title page follows. All else in the book is in braille.
Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription
This set of guidelines provides instruction for a wide range of formatting situations such as graphs and charts, worksheets, textbooks, sidebars, cartoons, tests, codes and puzzles, glossaries, and more.
Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to Braille Transcription is available as a free download from BANA.
Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Illustrations
Tactile Illustrations provides guidelines for adapting print images so they can be felt by touch. This may include a variety of methods using different materials. Tactile images may include maps, floor plans, bus routes, the circulatory system, a thermometer, a digital clock, parts of a flower and much more.
Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Illustrations is available as a free download from BANA
Braille has been adapted to nearly every language in the world. The Interim Manual for Foreign Language Braille Transcribing provides guidelines for transcribing foreign language materials into braille. It is available for purchase from the National Braille Association.
Music Braille Code
Louis Braille was a fine musician. He played piano, organ, violin and cello, and he taught music to blind youth. At the urging of his students, he adapted his raised dot system of reading to music notation. His braille music code, which is flexible enough to be applied to any instrument, met with immediate success.
The Music Braille Code is available as a free download from BANA.
Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation
The Nemeth Code was devised by Abraham Nemeth during the 1940s and ’50s. Blind from birth, Dr. Nemeth wanted to study mathematics in college, but the literary braille code was not sufficient to express the complexities of higher math. Dr. Nemeth devised a customized braille code that made the study of complex math and science possible for those who are blind.
The Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation is available as a free download from BANA.
Computer Braille Code
The Computer Braille Code provides for accurate and unambiguous transcription into braille of computer-related print text. This includes e-mail, website and Internet addresses, file names, and all other forms of computer notation.
The Computer Braille Code is available as a free download from BANA.