How to translate print documents into Braille


A blind person has phoned your office and asked the receptionist “Please can I have a copy of your document in Braille?”.  Your company doesn’t have it in Braille already, but there is an Equal Opportunities policy, and the receptionist wants to be helpful and inclusive, and so says they’ll sort it out.  What do you do next?  How can you go about getting a copy of your document in Braille?


The process for translating print documents into Braille involves some specialist software, a Braille printer (also called an embosser) and a bit of expertise.

Option 1 – produce Braille documents yourself

You can buy the translation software and Braille printer, although this may be an expensive option depending on the number of documents you need to transcribe.  If you choose to buy the equipment so you can produce Braille yourself, you will need an area set aside as the embosser is noisy.  You will also need the ability to bind your documents.  The total cost for these items starts at around £2500.

Finally you will also need the expertise.  You will obviously need to learn how to use the equipment, but you will also need some working knowledge of Braille.  The translation software can translate text from a Word document , but you will need to know how to prepare the document for translation.  This includes everything from how to deal with tables and graphs, to the layout of text on the page.  Headings need particular care and you will need to know about the use of emphasis and alignment in Braille.  You will also need to know enough about Braille characters to bind the Braille document the right way round!

Option 2 – use a Braille Transcription Company

Braille Transcription companies like A2i have a range of equipment to print Braille, and have all the expertise to make the document appropriate for blind people.  They can deal with any complicated items in your document such as graphs, flowcharts, forms and mathematical symbols.  The effort on your part will be minimal beyond emailing a copy of the document, as the transcriber will deal with the translation for you, mailing back a completed bound Braille version within a few days.

The cost for this will obviously depend on the size and complexity of the document and the quantity required, but an average 20-page report would cost in the region of £180 for 10 Braille copies from A2i.

You can find out more about A2i’s prices and services on our Braille page.  Or just give us a call if you want to discuss your requirements.