Free Braille Translators: Biblos, Sao Mai Braille and Send to Braille (Extra 71)

Following our exploration of braille translators during National Braille Week, we were delighted to be joined by esteemed assistive technology pioneer Dean Martineau. Dean is a long term braille user and has spent many years developing his own personal braille shorthand system.

In this Masterclass, Dean introduced us to the Biblos braille translator and demonstrated how he uses it to translate text into his personalised shorthand system. He also covered some more conventional uses of the program and compared it with other free translators on the market, including Send to Braille and Sao Mai Braille.

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From Print To Braille: Reading the Finished Product (Episode 57)

For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day.

In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one each day, following the journey “From Print to Braille”. These episodes are the recordings of these Masterclasses.

This week: The final stage of the transcription journey is for someone to read the braille! Usually, this is either done by embossing the document on paper or transferring it to a braille display. Which is most suitable? How easy is it to do? Join Matthew Horspool and Jackie Brown to find out!

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Cheers Volunteers 2024 (Extra 70)

A message from our Chairman, Dave Williams, to thank our many volunteers this National Volunteers Week.

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From Print To Braille: A Deeper Dive Into Duxbury (Extra 69)

For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day.

In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one each day, following the journey “From Print to Braille”. These episodes are the recordings of these Masterclasses.

This week: The Duxbury Braille Translator is used in braille production facilities all over the world. We will explore how templates can be used to produce braille according to virtually any international standard, and how styles and codes can be used to control the finer points of the braille output. The presenter is James Bowden.

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From Print To Braille: Choosing the Right Braille Translator for the Job (Episode 56)

For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day.

In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one each day, following the journey “From Print to Braille”. These episodes are the recordings of these Masterclasses.

This week: Microsoft Word knows about typography and layout, but it doesn’t know about braille contractions. That’s why we need a braille translation package. There are a number of packages on the market to suit a variety of budgets and complexities, and we’ll help you decide which one is the right one for you, in conversation with Christo de Klerk.

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From Print To Braille: The Key to Accessible Word Documents (Extra 68)

For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day.

In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one each day, following the journey “From Print to Braille”. These episodes are the recordings of these Masterclasses.

In this episode, discover how making a few small tweaks to your Microsoft Word documents will not only lead to better automated braille, but also speed up your word processing tasks! Using styles, inserting proper characters and ensuring tables are created effectively will all be covered.

The session was presented by Barry Coates, Technology Training Manager at RNIB.

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From Print To Braille: What Should Our Braille Look Like? (episode 55)

For many years now, Sight Scotland have championed National Braille Week, an opportunity to celebrate braille usage and raise awareness of the importance and value of braille. It runs in the second week of October, to coincide with World Sight Day.

In 2023, we celebrated National Braille Week at the Braillists by running five Masterclasses, one each day, following the journey “From Print to Braille”. These episodes are the recordings of these Masterclasses.

This week, we unpack the rules and conventions of braille layout in different parts of the world. Are headings always centred? What happens if a table is too wide for the braille page? Find out the answers to these questions and so much more!

Our panel of braille transcribers was comprised of:

  • Jen Goulden from Canada
  • Anja Gibbs from New Zealand
  • Craig Morgan from Wales
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The Braille Features of Supernova (Extra 67)

Supernova is a screen magnification and screen reading package from Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, based in Worcester in the UK. Braille display support is a core part of its offering, but we don’t hear very much about it.

In this session, we were joined by Aj Ahmed, proprietor of AAT Solutions, an independent provider of assistive technology training and support. Aj talked us through how to set up a braille display to work with Supernova, the various settings which are available, and the keystrokes which will help you make the most of this functionality.

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Setting Up Braille Displays on Windows and iOS (Extra 66)

If you have a new braille display and you’re struggling to connect it to your computer, iPhone or iPad, or you have a new computer, iPhone or iPad and you’re struggling to connect it to your braille display, this session is for you.

We covered:

  • The pros and cons of Bluetooth and USB
  • Pairing and unpairing your braille display via Bluetooth
  • Drivers and how to install them
  • Screen reader setup
  • Using braille without speech

The session was presented by Matthew Horspool.



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Adding Your Own Contractions to Your Screen Reader Using Liblouis (Extra 65)

Many screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA, make use of the popular, open source Liblouis braille translation engine as part of their braille display support. In this session, we explained and demonstrated how to harness the power of Liblouis braille tables to implement additional contractions in your screen reader of choice.

If you use a long word regularly and find it is taking up too much space on your braille display, this is the session for you! It also serves as a brief introduction to Liblouis translation tables in general.

The session was presented by James Bowden. In addition to his work as Braille Technical Officer at RNIB, James is also the Chair of the Braille Technology Committee of the International Council on English Braille, and is the primary developer of the default UEB translation table in Liblouis. Over many years, he has not only added new symbols to the UEB tables, but has also corrected numerous errors with existing contractions, and he actively contributes to discussions about the future development of Liblouis.

Please note: although we did our best to present the concepts in this session in as simple and straightforward a way as possible, modifying Liblouis tables involves advanced file and folder manipulation, administration rights and working with computer code in a text editor. You do not need to be a computer programmer in order to benefit from this session, but it is best suited to people with intermediate to advanced computer knowledge.



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