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merican Foundation for the Blind,
Northwest Vista College (San Antonio, Texas) and the
Texas Education Agency

The AFB Textbooks and Instructional Materials Solutions Forum, in conjunction with the AFB National Education Program and National Literacy Center, has taken a leadership role in attacking the critical shortage of braille transcribers and offering new skills to current braille transcribers. In May 2001, the AFB Solutions Forum began an important and revolutionary project to define a new occupation as a braille textbook transcriber. AFB, Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas, and the Texas Education Agency have built a partnership to develop a new profession through a curriculum and a series of college courses. Because AFB’s National Literacy Center received federal appropriations funds through the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the curriculum development process was able to begin in 2001.

In January 2000, the Division of Special Education at the Texas Education Agency held a meeting with braille production specialists from across the United States. This was an important meeting to build the case for developing a community college level program to train new, certified, braille textbook transcribers.

The national need for more qualified textbook transcribers became widely known through the results of two of the three national surveys conducted in the Spring of 2000 about training and recruitment of braille transcribers and the production of textbooks. For the complete review of the results of the surveys, please go to www.afb.org/education.asp .

The series of courses are being developed in the spring of 2002 and the initial course will begin in the summer of 2002. The new career is aimed at creating a career-based curriculum that can be replicated at other community colleges throughout the United States and therefore increasing the number of employed braille transcribers available to meet the critical need in this area.

Two ACT Work Keys Occupational Profiling meetings were conducted by Northwest Vista College on August 17 & 18 and August 24 & 25, 2001. A final report was developed by Northwest Vista College for AFB. In October 2001, we asked experts in braille textbook transcribing to assist us in grouping the refined list of  31 job tasks (from the August 24/25 meeting) that are similar and complement the other associated tasks. We defined four distinct subject areas with individual job tasks supporting these subject areas.

The numbers shown below reflect the ranking of tasks as to the importance of each task to performing the job as a braille textbook transcriber. The list of 31 tasks shown below is from the final Work Keys Occupational Profiling meeting held on August 24/25.

Braille Textbook Transcriber

THIRTY-ONE JOB TASKS WERE BROKEN OUT INTO FOUR SEGMENTS

October 17, 2001

BRAILLE

Ability to read and write braille.

  • 1. Demonstrate proficiency in transcribing, in proofreading, and in correcting Braille errors
  • 6. Acquire the ability to read ASCII braille
  • 7. Appropriately utilize quality control to ensure dot quality, accurate braille, and accurate format
  • 17. Demonstrate basic use of tactile graphic production methods
  • 21. Have awareness of appropriate use of specialized codes: Nemeth, Music, Computer, Foreign Language and Chemistry
  • 22. Possess the ability to read single-sided and interpointed braille
  • 23. Understand simple graphics such as pie charts or simple graphs
  • 24. Acquire the ability to produce 6-key computer direct entry braille
  • 27. Acquire an appreciation and basic knowledge of how brailled texts are used and how blind students learn
  • 28. Obtain NLS Literary Certification
  • 29. Acquire knowledge of national certification requirements and types of certification
  • 30. Acquire the ability to manually produce hard copy braille with a Perkins and a slate and stylus
  • 31. Acquire the knowledge of the evolution of braille and braille production

FORMAT

Correct placement of print to braille on a page.

  • 3. Acquire basic knowledge of production process including formatting, transcribing, proofreading, correcting, and reproduction
  • 4. Demonstrate basic troubleshooting and problem solving in formatting braille
  • 5. Demonstrate proficiency in applying: Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription
  • 7. Appropriately utilize quality control to ensure dot quality, accurate braille, and accurate format
  • 9. Acquire techniques for quality control
  • 10. Demonstrate proficiency in applying: English Braille American Edition (EBAE)
  • 11. Develop the ability to effectively interpret and appropriately describe pictures and graphics in print books
  • 12. Understand and translate literary contents
  • 17. Demonstrate basic use of tactile graphic production methods
  • 22. Possess the ability to read single-sided and interpointed braille
  • 23. Understand simple graphics such as pie charts or simple graphs
  • 27. Acquire an appreciation and basic knowledge of how brailled texts are used and how blind students learn

TECHNOLOGY

Using software and hardware to produce braille textbooks

  • 2. Acquire the ability to use current braille transcription and translation software
  • 8. Demonstrate a knowledge of computer applications to include programming techniques
  • 13. Demonstrate computer literacy which includes knowledge of appropriate components
  • 14. Acquire the knowledge of appropriate use of current scanning software to include imaging, editing, OCR enhancements
  • 15. Create, zip/unzip, save and transfer different braille software formats
  • 16. Demonstrate basic troubleshooting and problem solving techniques, such as software, computer equipment, and interfacing different equipment
  • 18. Possess the ability to appropriately use network expertise
  • 19. Use e-mail and appropriate attachments to transfer files
  • 20. Acquire basic knowledge of braille production equipment
  • 23. Understand simple graphics such as pie charts or simple graphs
  • 24. Acquire the ability to produce 6-key computer direct entry braille
  • 26. Obtain knowledge of various media commonly exported from publishers' files

BUSINESS PRACTICES

Job practices that will develop for-profit strategies as a braille textbook transcriber

  • 9. Acquire techniques for quality control
  • 18. Possess the ability to appropriately use network expertise
  • 20. Acquire basic knowledge of braille production equipment
  • 25. Develop knowledge in administering a small business and/or setting up private contracts