[bct] Re: found new job as braille proofreader in cincinnati, ohio.

  • From: "Sean Randall" <sean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 17:12:08 +0100

Just to chip in,

I  learned Braille at school, being one of those blind from birth people.
I suppose I had it easy, because I grew up with it.

I never used a slate and stylus - always a Perkins for anything more than a label.

Nowadays I don't use it much for anything but labels. I'm dreadfully slow at reading it, due to lack of use and my general disapproval of the medium as a child.
However I'm safe in the knowledge that, should I need to read something, I'll be able to. Not in record time, perhaps; but it makes for labeling cd's and all that stuf much more doable.

Sean R. ... Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana ... Email: sean@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

web: http://www.randyLaptop.com

----- Original Message ----- From: "Steve Matzura" <number6@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 4:37 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: found new job as braille proofreader in cincinnati, ohio.


On Mon, 15 May 2006 22:27:48 +0100, you wrote:

Woud you consider a braille for beginners type of podcast? The sort of thing
I have in mind is spelling out what's involved in learning Braille, wht
equipment to use and what the advantages are once you can use braille?

I'll be the first one to tell you that to learn Braille if you so desire is a blind person's right, not a privilege. If you want to learn it, you should pursue it to the ends of the earth if you have to. Some state agencies won't teach it to you if you don't already know it because they'll use the excuse that you've gotten along without knowing it for this long in your life, you probably don't really need to know it now. To this, I say, balderdash! That's the polite answer, anyway. Who's to say you mightn't need to know it at some point in the future of your life, but at that time there mightn't be any possibility of actually teaching it to you--no local access to teachers or classes, any number of reasons.

Despite what others might say, I would steer you away from learning it
via correspondence course, although many have done it thtat way
successfully.  Maybe after you learn the basics (Grade 1), a
correspondence course might be good to take you to the next level
(Grade 2), since it's building on what you'll already know at that
time, but the very beginning stuff I firmly believe should be taught
one on one, or at least in a very small class (less than five) so you
can get the individual attention you'll need in the beginning.

As for equipment, well, we can do it the hard way or the easy way.
The hard way will cost you about a Jackson ($20). The easy way,
anywhere between five and fifteen Jacksons, depending on what you can
find in the used Brailler market.

The inexpensive way--the way many of us learned Braille in school--was
to learn to write it using a slate and stylus. This is a slow go, and
if you write on anything except paper, can be very hard on the hands.
A slate and stylus work by securing the paper to a board or metal
guide with pins, then physically punching out the dots from the
reverse side of the paper using the stylus, a short handle designed to
be held by the palm and singers of one hand, with a semi-blunt point
made of metal inserted into the center.  In some situations, only a
slate will do, so it's good at least to know how to use one should you
need to.

The less stressful way is with a machine known as a Braille writer or
Brailler for short.  The Perkins Brailler is the gold standard of
these devices.  New they're about $300 or so, but you might be able to
find a used one for a third or less of that price.  There are other
manufacturers that have been making Braille writers since probably the
turn of the previous century, but none come close to working like a
Perkins does. The two main differences between Perkins Braillers and
all others are (1) with the Perkins Brailler, the embossing head
moves, whereas with the others, the entire paper carriage moves, like
the old manual typewriters; (2) while both Brailling machines roll the
paper up into themselves and dole it out line by line every time the
roller is rolled or the lever is depressed which rolls the roller, the
Perkins machine does not use pins to secure the paper in place, while
the other manufacturers use a closing clip assembly with three or four
pins which actually puncture the paper and hold it fast.

Then there's the question of your vision.  Will you learn to read
Braille visually or tactually?  If you have any problems with your
hands or fingers, including neuropathy, heavy callousing from
intensive manual labor, that's going to affect how you feel the dots.
Some of it can be overcome with training, some can't.  When you go for
your first Braille class, someone will evaluate you for this.

And I also have to tell you, when it's all said and done and you learn
the thing and are ready to tackle books, you're going to find out what
we Braille readers have known since time immemorial.  Braille is
expensive to produce, so the quantity of material in Braille is very
limited.  You'll never read a daily newspaper in Braille.  If you're
waiting to read today's current novels in Braille, you'll be waiting
until at least after the next presidential campaign, if not election,
for them to show up in your regional library for the blind.

I think your goal of making Braille personally useful for labelling
tasks is a very realistic one. That's what most people who learn
Braille after school use it for anyway.

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