[Blindmath] UEB again (was Braille code urgency)

Birkir R. Gunnarsson birkir.gunnarsson at gmail.com
Sun Dec 4 15:24:17 CST 2011


Michael

Good point, and I agree with it to some extent.
Perhaps what is missing (in my opinion) is amore widespread WYSIWYG
type input for math in mainstream software.
ChattyInfty is good, as far as it goes, but it comes with a price tag
and it is definitely a proprietary software in a sense. Neither of
these should be taken as undue criticisms, because I think it is a
great piece of software.
I think, more than anything, that it demonstrates that it is very
possible to create an accessible way of inputting/writing math
documents without resorting to writing LaTeX, which is my point.
LaTeX isn't for everyone, not even as an input language.
But where you are right, I think, is that backtranslation from
braille, especially when there is such diversity in braille codes, is
perhaps not really a good way to go.
Instead a more accessible way to input math into, say, MathType or
other mainstream math authoring software is more important.
I still, for my money, find math easier and clearer to read when a
digit is unique presented by one symbol, rather than a combination of
a number sign and alphabet letters.
I've always wanted to experiment with 8-dot mathbraille, because I
think it enables a much closer to 1 to 1 mapping with printed math
symbols, but my opinion is definitely not shared by many others, and
my current project and job situation is very web-programming focussed,
and thus my speculations in the area haven't gone mufch beyond looking
at what's out there (the Stuttgart code, and a code that our own John
Gardner proposed a few years back with his colleague).


On 12/4/11, Michael Whapples <mwhapples at aim.com> wrote:
> I personally see back translation (back translation by computers, obviously
> reading is a form of back translation as one is understanding what is
> written) as a legacy requirement. I know many may argue otherwise, however I
> will place my reasoning here.
>
> With the rise of computers being used to complete tasks, with a greater
> expectation on sighted people to use computers to prepare work/documents,
> then is it unreasonable to expect similar from blind people? There are
> perfectly acceptable ways of producing mathematical documents using
> computers, LaTeX, MathType and chattyinfty are a few examples of accessible
> ones. Certainly at university level the default expectation would be that
> students would prepare work on a computer, it also doesn't really seem
> unreasonable to expect it at the last end of school (e.g. here in the UK
> A-level) and the earlier in schooling you go while hand writing may be more
> the expected the less complicated the maths and so less of an issue for
> presenting it in a accessible form or even back translating it.
>
> Back translation to me just seems backwards and a way of ensuring your
> isolation by not integrating with your colleagues.
>
> I did term it as legacy, therefore may be there is some need to support it a
> little as there could be some who learnt Braille before computers really
> came in and with age have decided not to learn new things. However such
> people will never be around for ever and so that need will go, unless
> someone helps perpetuate the situation by not teaching people how they can
> produce work independently and so make them dependent on those who provide
> back translation services.
>
> Michael Whapples
> On 4 Dec 2011, at 19:29, Birkir R. Gunnarsson wrote:
>
>> Another thing to keep in mind re unique symbols representing numbers
>> is that there is considerable complexity in using the number sign "#"
>> to represent numbers, and requires increased complexity in
>> translations from print to braille etc, consider for instance the
>> treatment of 1b vs 12
>> in other words
>> #a b vs #ab
>> That is the obvious one, and then we need to decide how to treat
>> numbers after a /, super and subscript indicator numbers etc.
>> Of course this is old news to everyone on here, and I am not claiming
>> this is undoable or rocket science, but I believe that we need a
>> system that makes translation from print or computer math to braille
>> and back as simple as possible, and getting rid of the complexity
>> associated with these things is a huge value in itself.
>> On an unrelated subject.
>> Studies that I read regarding contracted vs uncontracted braille
>> definitely differe, baesd on the language, but in English I believe
>> they found space savings generally is only around 10%, hardly ever
>> over 20, and reading speed increases are between 10 and 18%.
>> This seems to be the best outcome in the languages that were studied,
>> as English seems to lend itself fairly well to contractions (lots of
>> fixed character patterns that can be abbreviated).
>> Finland and Norway are vehemently against the adoption of a contracted
>> code (in Norway there have been multiple attempts at creating one, but
>> now their braille authority advocates the abolishment of contracted
>> braille).
>> As someone who did not learn contractions till I was almost 20, but
>> being a braille reader since age 5, I find them cumbersome to deal
>> with and distracting, but that probably has more to do with me than
>> the contractions themselves.
>> But, again, I believe we could get wildly off topic with that
>> discussion, even if I find it fascinating.
>>
>>
>> On 12/4/11, Susan Jolly <easjolly at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>>> Steve, I agree Braille has to modernize and take into account changes in
>>> print.  Luckily there has been very little change to the typeset
>>> representation of print which is well-reflected in how Nemeth represents
>>> math expressions.  So as far as math is concerned, Nemeth is clearly more
>>> print-like than UEB.
>>>
>>> Sina, when I first learned of the use of letters as numbers in UEB I
>>> researched the historical development of how digits are represented.  It
>>> seemed pretty clear that advances in mathematics occurred when numbers
>>> were
>>> given unique representations.  I no longer have my notes on that research
>>> but it seems plausible that there is a relationship between understanding
>>> and representation.
>>>
>>> UKAAF, which has just adopted UEB, quotes an average increase of 21% in
>>> the
>>> length of math expressions over BAUK.  They don't say how they determined
>>> this.
>>>
>>> SusanJ
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>>
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