Unified English Braille
Chris Marshall
Betty Nobel
What is UEB
• One braille code which is able to be used in the reading
and writing of all literary as well as technical
materials (e.g. math, science, computer notation).
Ease of Access
Ease of Learning
The changes to print usage (email and web addresses)
Simplified rules
Expected lower cost
Better computability
Follow print to reduce ambiguity
What are the advantages
• Same code for all English speaking countries – for ease
of mobility and sharing of resources
• Math is easier to read and learn
• Fewer errors in automated forward and back translation
How is UEB different
• Follow print spacing for words, and, for, of, the, with, no
longer best friends – To, into and by no longer joined to
what follows.
• Five contractions eliminated to avoid confusion, ally,
ation, ble, com, dd and ‘o’ clock.
• More liberal use of contraction rules around bridging
syllables and diphthongs
• Some changes to shortforms
How is UEB different
• Additional rules and symbols for font attributions,
typeforms, accents and modifiers
• UEB uses one set of numbers – all upper numbers.
• UEB symbols are created according to a pattern (prefix
and/or root)
• UEB symbols are unambiguous regardless of context
Happening Already
• All braille books being produced by CNIB library are in
• Lesson materials for new transcribers available from
• UEB update is a free self directed course from CNIB
• Braille lesson material for adults now available as
Celebrating Braille, A Canadian Approach has been
• UEB parties for adult braille readers
Were are we Globally
• Most major English speaking countries have adopted
• Australia has completely implemented
• New Zealand, Nigeria, Ireland and South Africa are well
on the way to implementing
• April 2010 Canada adopted
• October 2011 UK adopted
• November 2012 USA adopted
Day of Celebration
• Braille Authority of North America (BANA) held an
implementation meeting in Oct 2013
• BANA has set a day of Celebration for January 4th 2016,
this is a day to make the announcements to the press
and to celebrate how far we have come.
• We are not going to flick a switch and suddenly we will
be all UEB – there will be a period when both formats
are being used
Canadian Perspective
• Braille Literacy Canada (BLC) has an implementation
committee and has liaison with CAER
• Canadian Braille Authority (CBA) held a summit in
Vancouver in 2012
• CNIB have worked on a number of resouces
• CAER (Canadian Association of Educational Resource
Centres) have been looking at UEB from the outset
CAER Approach
• CAER commissioned a literature review
• CAER created a Subcommittee to develop a national
implementation plan for school age population
• Understanding that ALL Canada would move forward
together – continue to share resources, mobility of
students from province to province
• CAER to take proposal to CMAC – Canadian Ministers
of Education
• Individual Provinces develop their own plan and share
with their ministries
Implementation Planning
• Lots of Questions – plans are forming now – BC has
developed a draft plan.
• We have good models from places where UEB has been
• Should I be starting my grade 1 students on UEB?
• Roll out over a number of years
Transition plans for BC
• Transition will focus on earlier phases first; K-3, 4-7 and 8-12
• In Canada CAER will begin training teachers and transcribers
from now on
• Beginning and early grades students starting on UEB from
September 2014
• Other grades to follow – for a transition period some
resources will be available in both forms
• Exams will not be in UEB in 2015, but may phase in from then
What Resources are Available
• Transcribers UEB Update Course
• UEB Rulebook
• Technical Guidelines
Useful Websites for more
• International Council on English Braille (ICEB)
• UK Association for Accessible formats (UKAAF)
• Royal New Zealand foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
• Braille Literacy Canada

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