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What is Unified English Braille Code?

What is Unified English Braille Code?

Braille Forever Changed Accessibility to the Written Word

The invention of braille nearly 200 years ago has given access to the literary world to countless numbers of individuals with blindness or low vision. This access has expanded their opportunities for education and has given individuals with blindness a wide range of recreational reading materials to enjoy. Because of braille these individuals have the ability to read such things as cookbooks, instructions for games, crafts, and hobbies, contracts and financial statements, medical documents, music, and cultural materials, and many other practical instructions on equipment and public facilities that we all use on a daily basis.

Braille has given individuals with blindness or low vision greater independence and the ability to take care of themselves and make decisions for themselves with this accessibility to important written (braille) documents.

Over the past 200 years, the braille code has changed and has been adapted to conform to changes in the modern English language. New braille symbols have been added over time to keep current with the contemporary vernacular of the language.

What is Unified English Braille (UEB)?

“Since braille represents a living language—English—periodic modifications are necessary to reflect changes in our language and keep braille vital and contemporary. The development of Unified English Braille (UEB) had its origin in the need to make revisions to our current code so that it could more accurately reflect changes in the English language.” Source

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) began working on a more unified braille code in the early 1990s to simplify complexities and to help with more accurate braille transcription. Over the years the project grew as representatives from seven English-speaking countries combined efforts under the International Council on English Braille (ICEB).

Unified English Braille (UEB) was officially developed under the direction of the International Council on English Braille and was ratified in 2004 with unified braille symbols that are used in literary, mathematics, and computing texts. The ICEB continues to evaluate the use of UEB and can make changes to the braille symbols or rules of UEB as needed. “UEB, developed primarily by braille readers, is based on current literary braille and is designed to be flexible, unambiguous, extensible, and computable.” Source

Rules and Benefits of Unified English Braille (UEB)

  • Unified English Braille has symbols for all types of braille contexts and subjects except for music.
  • UEB was created to eliminate ambiguity with the different types of braille symbols in any given text.
  • UEB allows for more exactness in translation from the original print document.
  • Each printed symbol has only one corresponding braille symbol in UEB.
  • There are 64 characters in UEB including a space symbol.
  • UEB will continue to be monitored, reviewed, and changed to stay current with the English language as it evolves.
  • UEB is now used in many countries around the world.

Highest Standards in UEB Translation Services

T-Base offers braille printing services adhering to Braille Authority of North America (BANA) standards, including its standard for Unified English Braille Code (UEB). The UEB standard, developed to represent the wide variety of English Literary and Technical material, has been adopted as the international standard.

Braille translation and braille printing services by T-Base ensure equal access to all types of printed books, textbooks, documents, and statements to individuals with blindness or low vision. Learn more about the faster, simpler way to create accessible print materials in UEB from T-Base.

Jeff Jullion

Jeff Jullion

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