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?

You don't need to know all about Braille yourself. Here we give you details about your options - what you will need to produce Braille yourself, or how to outsource to a Braille Translation Company.

Option 1 – produce Braille documents yourself

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

We might be a transcription company, but we recognise that sometimes this might be the best option, and since we want to promote the continuance of Braille, here's some info to start you off.

Braille translation software

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 £2000 + VAT.

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!

To start you off... Search for "Braille Embosser", and "Braille Translation Software"
Or try visiting www.sightandsound.co.uk, who sell all this equipment and more.

Advantages: This is a good option if you want to produce alot of Braille, with the ability to prioritise urgent documents.

Disadvantages: A high initial cost, plus training in this field can be hard to find and slow, depending on the level of expertise and the complexity of documents required.

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.

Braille Transcription companies are the experts. 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. A letter or short menu may cost just £18. 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.

To start you off...

Advantages: Low cost, no expertise required, and you can guarantee the Braille will be correct.

Disadvantages: Transcription companies are often very busy - however please just ask if you have a tight deadline, at A2i we will always do our best to squeeze your work in if we possibly can.

"I’d like to say how impressed I was with the speed of response, how competitive the quote was and how pleased I was with the service. Extremely straight-forward and quick process and I’d definitely use you again."

Click here to see our full pricing structure