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What Are the Different Types of Braille?

types of braille

Braille is not considered a language but rather should be referred to as a system that is used for reading and writing by people with blindness or low vision. It is an alphabet made up of raised dots that can be used to write in many different languages such as English, Spanish or Chinese, to name just a few.

2 Most Common Types of Braille

The two most common forms of braille are called Grade 1 and Grade 2, or uncontracted and contracted braille.

  • Uncontracted braille, Grade 1, or Alphabetic Braille is the most basic form of braille. It uses all 26 letters of the alphabet and is often used by children or individuals who are first learning to read and write in braille. With uncontracted braille words are spelled out letter by letter. This form of braille takes up a lot of space and documents written in uncontracted braille will be very lengthy.
  • Contracted braille, Grade 2, or Literary Braille is a more complex form that is typically learned after learning uncontracted braille. It is the most commonly used form of braille. Contracted braille is a system of “short cuts” where one letter might represent an entire word. There are letter combinations, or contractions, that represent whole words without spelling out each letter in the word. This method reduces the overall number of cells needed and the volume of pages required to print books and other written content. Contracted braille takes up less space and improves an individual’s speed in both reading and writing. This is the form of braille you would see in public places.

Other Types of Braille

In addition to the above forms of braille, there is also Nemeth, Music, and Unified English Braille (UEB)

The Nemeth Braille Code is used for encoding mathematical and scientific notation linearly using the standard six-dot braille cells. Individuals who are blind or who have low vision still need to learn mathematics. Nemeth braille is a version of braille that is used to transcribe mathematic equations, algebra, and calculus.

Braille music was created by the father of modern braille, Louis Braille, who was also a musician. “Braille music uses combinations of the same six-dot cell as literary braille to represent the pitch and rhythm of each note. If you imagine that the braille cell is arranged like an egg carton for six eggs i.e. in three rows of two. The top two rows represent the pitch and the bottom row is used for rhythm.” Source

There is a push toward braille uniformity called Unified English Braille (UEB), T-Base was one of the first adopters of the UEB Code; they have been transcribing, proofing, and delivering braille documents, textbooks, and other instructional materials in UEB for several years now. T-Base has transcribed well over hundreds of thousands of pages in UEB in both literary and technical formats (UEB Technical and UEB with Nemeth).

Fastest Solution for Braille Transcription

T-Base’s experienced software developers have spent thousands of hours turning what was an arduous, manual process into a streamlined semi-automated solution for braille transcription that is not easily replicated in the marketplace. T-Base’s expedited braille transcription of accessible materials is 2x faster than others in the industry, never compromising quality in the process. Contact T-Base today for more information.

Jeff Jullion

Author Jeff Jullion

Manager of Education Accessibility Communications  at T-Base Communications Inc.

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