At this time, material transcribed on paper in Unified English Braille (UEB) is not yet widely available in the United States. The UEB implementation process is likely to take several years. However, braille readers, particularly those with access to refreshable braille displays or embossers, may begin learning about the changes and using UEB whenever they choose to do so. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
You can switch your notetaker to UEB by selecting the preferred braille code under the Options or Global Options menu. This will affect what you read on your display as well as what happens when you type using six keys. Be aware of the following:
For iOs 7: UEB is the default English braille translation table in iOs 7, regardless of which dialect of English is selected. It is possible to switch to "English US" in VoiceOver settings, but consider leaving it on UEB to familiarize yourself with the changes. This will affect what you read on your display as well as what happens when you type using six keys.
For Earlier Versions of iOs: If you change the speech on your device to "Australian English" or to "South African English," the braille will display in UEB. Change the language by using the language selection options in "settings" (or via the rotor, if languages have been enabled there). This will affect what you read on your display as well as what happens when you type using six keys.
Be aware of the following:
Refreshable Braille Displays with Android Devices:
BrailleBack, the software that provides braille support for the TalkBack screen reader for Android, does not support UEB at this time.
Refreshable Braille Displays with PC Screen Readers:
WindowEyes can be set to display UEB by going to the braille menu and selecting the UEB checkbox under "Translation Tables".
JAWS for Windows also offers UEB (Options, Braille, Advanced, and Translation Mode UEB). However, as of the end of September 2013, there are many problems with the UEB implementation in JAWS—some symbols display incorrectly, many contractions are not used properly, etc. It is not recommended to use JAWS to learn about UEB at this time. The developers are currently working to make improvements.
NVDA can display UEB (Preferences, Braille Settings). There are some issues, but as of this writing, developers are working to make improvements.
Using Duxbury, you can create a document in UEB by changing the translation table. Create or import a print document, then go to the "Document" menu, under Translation tables, and select English/Unified. Of course, it is still necessary to work with the formatting of a document before embossing it to get the headings, paragraphs and the like into the proper format. Also, in the current version of Duxbury, the American templates contain some elements that will cause pre-UEB conventions to be applied. Therefore, until new templates are built in to Duxbury specific to American formatting with UEB, it is necessary to do some manual manipulation of email addresses, web sites, transcribers' notes and the like to cause them to translate into correct UEB.
The Web site of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) www.brailleauthority.org includes a number of braille-formatted documents that can be embossed or read using a refreshable braille display. These documents include a brief overview of the changes from English Braille American Edition (EBAE) to UEB as well as sample documents such as a menu, instructions on cutting a turkey, tips for using Google, chapters from a book, and more.
The BANA website also includes information from other countries such as update courses. Update training materials for braille readers, teachers, and transcribers are currently being developed for the United States as well.
Last Updated: September 22, 2013