CBE embraces IPA Braille

In May 2022, the Spanish Braille Commission published the new rules that will provide guidance to ONCE’s braille transcribers when confronted with phonetic symbols in foreign language learning materials, dictionaries, or even books about Phonetics.

After more than a year of intense work and fruitful discussion, the Linguistics and Languages Committee of the Spanish Braille Commission (CBE) made public a new technical document related to how to deal with phonetic symbols in braille transcriptions. The document reflects a complete paradigm shift when compared to the old version of our B 7.

CBE decided that it was time to say goodbye to the braille signs that our technicians (painstakingly) devised years ago to transcribe phonetic texts and embrace IPA Braille (International Phonetic Alphabet), a de facto standard in many countries for this kind of texts. Despite the hard work involved in creating that now-obsolete set of signs, the Committee decided that it was a good opportunity to join an already established international set that would make our phonetic braille transcriptions easier to understand outside Spain. Now that overall mobility of braille titles has significantly increased thanks to the benefits of the Marrakech Treaty, it was important to produce our books in the most standardized way possible.

Though aimed mainly at ONCE’s own technicians (for whom the use of these signs at work is mandatory), these guidelines have also been made public – as CBE usually does with all its technical documents – for anyone wishing to familiarize with IPA Braille. Though the document is available only in Spanish, the charts with all the symbols and their corresponding braille signs will surely be of use to anyone interested. Entitled Documento técnico B 7: Signografía braille para fonética, it is available in PDF for download from ONCE’s website along many other braille-related technical documents.