[NFB-Braille-Discussion] Braille transcribing question

Brown, Debbie dabro at loc.gov
Mon Dec 16 13:52:26 UTC 2019

My guess is that some books were still hand-transcribed, because many of the Nemeth transcribers would have had their training in the 1970s when that was all there was.  Some of them were using early computerized technology like the Cranmer Modified Perkins Brailler.

Debbie Brown

-----Original Message-----
From: NFB-Braille-Discussion <nfb-braille-discussion-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Josh Kennedy via NFB-Braille-Discussion
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2019 5:32 PM
To: nfb-braille-discussion at nfbnet.org
Cc: Josh Kennedy <joshknnd1982 at gmail.com>
Subject: [NFB-Braille-Discussion] Braille transcribing question

When I was in elementary school back in the early 1990s through 1995 or so, all my textbooks were in braille including math. And they were mostly on thermoform paper. In those math textbooks they had addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems and they were in columns across the page. They wrote the math problems in braille like you would see them in print. For example, if they wrote 3 times 4 equals 12. They used nemeth braille, and before the problem they wrote the number of the problem in literary braille with regular numbers with the number sign and the number in the upper part of the cell, sometimes they used nemeth in the higher grades with a period represented by dots 4-5-6 2-5-6. 
Then a space, then they would use nemeth with no number signs and write in a vertical column down the page, 3, then on the next line, dot4, dots 1-6 and the nemeth number4 dots 2-5-6.
And on the next line they wrote 4 to 6 dashes, dots 3-6.
And on the last line if it was a sample problem they wrote the answer, also in dropped nemeth braille with no number sign.
My question is how did they do this? Was almost the whole math book written with a perkins brailler and the drawings of geometric shapes done with a tactile maps kit on aluminum sheets, and them thermoformed? Or did mega-dots translator have the ability to do math in columns and the transcriber just hand-drew any tactile shapes like circles and triangles and other such things? I am curious as to how my books were made back then. I just had to read them and do the work and did not think much about it. But now curiosity has the best of me and I wonder how such complex books were made and what equipment those transcribers used? 


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