Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Day In The Life of a Braille Transcriber

A lot of people are curious about my job. What does a braille transcriber do? How are braille books made?

Well, I’ll take you through the process of making a book today. :)

First of all, here’s a quick peek at my office. There’s a computer, a printer, a braille embosser, a braille typewriter, quilts on the wall, extra supplies, boxes of paper... and a snoozing guide dog on the couch. 

So today I got a request for a book: How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell. The first thing I need is the text in electronic form. Since Bookshare has this book, that makes it easy. And the book is for my daughter so I can use her Bookshare account. 

I download the text, extract it from the zipped file and open the XML file in a piece of transcribing software called Duxbury. 

Then I set Duxbury to transcribe the text to braille. I check that the braille is correct, that the page and embossing parameters are set correctly and then send the book to the embosser. This one didn’t need a lot of clean-up. A math book might take hundreds of hours of clean-up before it’s ready to emboss. 

My old Juliet Pro 60 embosser will crank out 70 pages in an hour. So this book took about two hours to emboss. 

After it’s done embossing, I print the cover information on the printer, and braille a sticky label to put on the hard cover. If it’s a soft cover, I’ll braille this information directly onto the printed cover. 

Once the book is embossed, I need to tear off the tractor feed edges, separate the pages and bind them. 

The book is bound with the comb binding, then I write the title on the spine or use the label maker to put a title on the spine of the book. 

There’s a finished braille book! This one is going home to my daughter but often they will get shipped all over the world. 

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