ATC - Braille FAQ
- Who can use the ATC's Braille embossing services?
Any academic or administrative information generated by the University of Washington and intended for use by UW students, faculty, staff, and/or visitors can be sent to the ATC for embossing. Requests should originate from a University departmental representative. Additionally, academic materials such as textbooks may be converted to Braille format either by the use of original files from the textbook publisher or via a scanning/OCR process administered by the Disability Resources for Students Office.
- Why convert information to Braille?
Printed information must be presented in a form that is accessible to and usable by all. This may mean standard, large-print, electronic, audio, or Braille format.
- What information needs to be converted to Braille?
Any printed materials that are supplied to students should be offered in alternative formats, including Braille. Generally speaking, electronic text is more portable and usable than Braille, and it is produced more quickly. However, in some cases there is no substitute for having information provided in Braille.
- What information can be converted to Braille?
Any text that exists in HTML, ASCII, or popular word processing formats can be converted to Braille. Additionally, some graphics can be embossed as tactile drawings. Preferred format for text is MS Word .doc format or properly structured HTML. Mathematics and similar information in LaTeX format can be converted and embossed for people familiar with Nemeth Code Braille. The optimum format for efficient and speedy embossing is MS Word with standard styles or HTML with proper tags. See 10 Tips for Using Word to make your Word documents more braille-friendly.
- Is it possible to produce Brailled information on campus?
Yes. The Access Technology Center (ATC), located in the Mary Gates Hall, has the required software and hardware, as well as staff knowledgeable in the conversion of printed or electronic text and graphics to Braille. An embosser is available for use by students and staff who have received training and orientation by ATC staff.
- Is the Brailling process expensive or time-consuming?
There is no charge for Braille embossing for University-related materials. In cases of unusually large requests, departments may be asked to replace the special paper used for embossing. This price is approximately $45 per case (1000 sheets).
The amount of time and effort required to emboss a document depends on its initial quality and complexity as well as its length. Generally speaking, the ATC can provide simple Braille documents (less than a hundred Braille pages) within two working days. If a document is text in electronic form, such as a Word file, the process of conversion is simple, and time spent in production will be mostly actual production of Braille pages on the embosser. Documents containing foreign language or mathematics usually require more preparation time.
- What if I only have a print copy of the text to be Brailled?
Departments and students must provide all materials in electronic format in order to use the ATC Braille service. If you have a document for which there is no source available, you will need to scan and convert the document to a text file. The ATL has equipment and software to accomplish this and will train you or departmental staff in converting printed materials to electronic text.
For complex information, including math or tactile graphics, additional time and training are necessary. ATC staff are not content experts and cannot edit your submitted files for accuracy. If you have questions about the capabilities of the Braille service, please contact ATC staff.
- What about graphics?
Conversion to tactile graphics can be a complex and time consuming process. Make an appointment with ATC staff to learn more about producing tactile graphics.
- How do I submit a document for Braille embossing?
There are three ways to submit information for embossing.
- Complete the form found on the ATC Braille page.
- Bring the document to the ATC in electronic form.
- Bring a copy of the print document to the ATC for scanning and conversion to Braille.
- How do I convert a document to Braille?
These links provide a quick introduction to the process of scanning and converting text and producing Braille documents. If you are regularly producing material for Braille readers, we strongly recommend becoming familiar with Microsoft Word features such as Styles, as well as the very useful information on 10 Tips for Using Word to produce Braille.
- Braille embossing or Braille printing? Which is correct?
We don't print Braille, since we don't use ink to create the dots. We emboss rather than print. The devices we use to create Braille use pins to partially push the paper in the appropriate patterns. Though they are attached to the computers we use to create Braille the same way a standard printer is attached, they are not printers. It is possible to combine both printed text and Braille, but the process is cumbersome and time consuming and limited to pages of standard Braille width (11 inches).
Please feel free to contact the ATC staff with any questions or requests for assistance in creating and producing material in alternative formats.