How does Braille work

Braille

Braille is "read" with the fingers.

Braille is not a script to be read with the eyes, but to be felt with the fingers. Blind people cannot see anything or only very poorly. That is why a font was invented for them that they can "read" with their fingertips. To do this, the letters have to protrude a little so that you can feel them.

There are two different types of Braille today. You can feel the signs with your fingers in both types. But they use different characters and letters. There is also a braille for sheet music that works the same way.

What types of braille are there?

The Braille alphabet: This is what Braille looks like from A to Z. This postcard is from 1915.

On the one hand there is the relief script. Here all letters, signs and numbers that we also know are applied to the paper or the book page. It takes a little practice to feel these signs. Anyone who can read and write is already familiar with them.

Another font that is used much more often is called braille. Here the numbers and letters consist of a maximum of six points, which are arranged differently depending on the characters on a small surface that can be felt by the fingertip. As with the "normal" ABC, the different arrangement of the points results in individual letters or symbols, which then result in a kind of alphabet. Presented in the correct order, they then form the words and sentences known to us.

This font is also called Braille, i.e. Breil. It is named after its inventor, Louis Braille, who developed it in 1825. Today there is already another version of Braille called “Eurobraille”, which consists of up to eight points. You can use it to display even more characters.

How do you write in braille?

A blind typewriter has a key for each of the six points.

There are various devices and printers that can punch characters, letters and numbers in braille like a typewriter on a piece of paper, so that they stand a little higher and can be felt. They are called braille machines or embossing machines. Electric embossing machines are used today to write Eurobraille script. Sighted people can also learn Braille if they want to.

Where is Braille used?

Braille can be found almost everywhere today. But it is still used far too little in public life. There are restaurants in many cities that not only have their menus printed in normal font: there are menus in Braille for the blind. In addition to a normal version, magazines are also available in Braille. Some books are translated into Braille and some cities have large libraries for the blind.

With the help of a small additional reading part, a computer can also output the text as Braille, which can then be touched. Conversely, there are computer keyboards that have the dot symbols from Braille on their keys. Anyone who has mastered Braille can write on the computer just like with a normal keyboard. On the screen, the characters are converted back into the alphabet characters we know.

  • The blind Frenchman Louis Braille invented Braille.

  • Here a blind man is reading a book for the blind.

  • When blind people work at the computer, they can feel the letters.


There is also an article on “Braille” for beginners on MiniKlexikon.de and other search results from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

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