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NUBS or UEB: A Unified Braille Code Could Be Adopted Soon

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has released a three-part article entitled: The Evolution of Braille: Can the Past help Plan the Future?
BANA website (

Part 1 traces the use of braille as a viable reading medium from the 1960s to the present and takes a close look at how print has changed over the same period.

Part 2 discusses the more technical aspects of braille translation, challenges faced by current transcribers of current codes, the need for accurate forward and backward translation with the least amount of human intervention, and the impact of the use of refreshable braille displays.

Part 3 discusses the future; it explores the options for change and examines Unified English Braille (UEB) and the Nemeth Uniform Braille System (NUBS) as examples of code unification.

BANA feels that it is at a critical juncture, and they have four choices:

  1. Continue to tinker with the current codes we have;

  2. Adopt UEB;

  3. Adopt NUBS;

  4. Do nothing at all to change braille.

“The BANA Board recognizes that to preserve the viability of braille, changes must be made. The BANA Literary Technical Committee believes that continuing to make small changes to the current code will place braille readers and transcribers in an ever-worsening spiral of ever more complicated braille codes. The committee recommends that BANA adopt a system such as UEB or NUBS that was designed to be extendible, flexible, and consistent.” (Page 6 of Part 3)

A new unified/uniform braille code could soon be adopted and replace the literary, Nemeth, and computer braille codes currently used in the United States. Please take the time to learn all you can about these two codes. Choose your future or have it chosen for you.

Personally, I am confident that both UEB and NUBS are adequate for literary braille, but I am concerned about the ability of UEB to clearly and efficiently represent print and facilitate comprehension of math, science, and technical materials. Braille readers, transcribers, teachers and students have written me with the same concerns.

Let the discussion begin…

Susan A. Osterhaus, M.Ed., TVI
Statewide Mathematics Consultant
TSBVI Outreach

Learning Ally Audiobook Manager
CVI Webcast from Perkins School for the Blind

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