To learn to write braille, you need to make certain efforts. You can do it both by hand and with a special machine. In any case, you will improve once you master the alphabet and continue to practice writing in braille.
Part 1 of 3: Learn Braille
Step 1. Learn the alphabet
This type of writing is based on the combination of six points for each cell. The points are located in two vertical columns of three points each (or, depending on how you see it, three horizontal rows of two points each). A single letter can be represented by a minimum of one point and a maximum of five. There is a pattern in the braille alphabet that corresponds to the position of the letter in the alphabet.
- The first ten letters of the alphabet (from A to J) are formed exclusively by combinations of the four upper points.
- The next ten letters (K through T) are formed by adding the bottom left point to the previous ten letters. For example, when the upper left point (representing the letter A) is accompanied by the lower left point, it becomes the letter K. Then comes the letter L, which is formed by adding the same lower left point to the shape it represents. the letter B, and so on until reaching the letter T.
- The next five letters, excluding the letter W, are formed by adding two lower points to the first ten letters. The letter W is abnormal because it did not exist in French, the language in which braille was originally designed.
Step 2. Learn the scoring rules
The score is also made up of a combination of some of the six points in a single cell. So a dot in the lower right indicates that the next letter is uppercase. The point symbol consists of a period in the lower right, accompanied by a colon in the second row. That is, it is the same as the letter D but one row lower. Also, the exclamation point is similar to the letter F but one row lower.
- To indicate that the entire word is written in capital letters, the word will be preceded by two symbols that represent the capital letter, that is, two cells with only a period in the lower right part.
- For numbers, use the corresponding symbol, made up of three dots in the right column accompanied by the bottom dot of the left column (making an inverted L). This symbol for number must be accompanied by the symbols denoting the letters from A to J. For example, the letter A accompanied by the number symbol means "1", the letter B becomes "2", and so on until the letter J, representing the number "0".
Step 3. Learn the contractions
Since braille takes up much more space than the Spanish alphabet, writing can be simplified through the use of contractions. There are 189 additional one-cell combinations of common words such as “for”, “and” or “the”. Likewise, certain common components of words, such as conjugation endings in present continuous and past tense, also have particular symbols. It is also common to use abbreviations. For example, the letters "tm" are short for "tomorrow" in the English braille alphabet.
Part 2 of 3: Handwriting
Step 1. Gather your tools
You will need a ruler, a stylus (or awl), and cardboard. You can easily purchase them online.
- The stylus is a small instrument that has a metal handle and needle that is pressed against the paper to create dots that protrude from the cardboard and represent the Braille alphabet.
- The ruler is used so that the points are precisely spaced to create equidistant rows. It is made up of two pieces of metal or plastic, about the size of a sheet of paper, held together by a hinge. It is generally large enough to write 4-6 rows of braille.
- Cardboard is a type of thick paper. The stylus creates an embossment in the cardboard and the ruler prevents the stylus from making a hole in the paper when writing.
Step 2. Put the paper on the ruler and start writing with the stylus
The paper must go between the two sheets of the strip. Use the stylus through the holes in the ruler to make the dots and write the pattern you want.
Step 3. Flip the page
By pressing the cardboard with the stylus, you are actually writing on the back of the page. This means that you will have to use the stylus to write from right to left, as if it were a reflected image in a mirror. Once you're done, flip the page so your text can be read normally from left to right.
Part 3 of 3: Type
Step 1. Buy a braille typewriter
A Perkins brand braille typewriter is an instrument similar to conventional typewriters. The only difference is that it only has six keys. Buy thick paper and put it in the machine.
The starting price for these typewriters is around $ 700 and they come in different shapes and sizes. Some are designed to be used with one hand or with a simple gentle touch. There is also a wide variety of high-tech braille typewriters. We will address this topic soon
Step 2. Learn the keys
The largest key in the center of the typewriter is the space bar. Three keys are located on either side of the space bar and represent the six dots that can be used in braille. To write in a cell, you have to press, at the same time, all the keys of the points that you want to write. The key on the left side is used to move to a new line. The key parallel to this located on the right side is the backspace key.
- You will also find a piece of plastic on the top of the machine that serves to return the cart to the initial position. Also, the machine includes two knobs on the sides to insert the paper into the machine.
- In Braille, it is common to identify points with numbers, in such a way that the upper left point is number 1, the middle left point is 2 and the lower left point is 3. The right column also descends, in this case the 4 to 6. If we represent the points in this way, the keyboard of the braille typewriter is arranged as follows: 3, 2, 1 (space) 4, 5, 6.
Step 3. Opt for new technologies
True, by today's standards, typewriters could turn out to be very cumbersome. Fortunately, there are electric braille machines that are based on the same principle. Machines like the Mountbatten Brailler and the Perkins Smart Brailler allow you to archive documents electronically, plus they include audio support and training exercises.