• Why is there a new Braille code?

The English language Braille Authorities felt there was room for improvement in SEB (Standard English Braille). - The Braille Authorities felt there was a need to unify the Braille code being used in all English Speaking countries as it will make it easier to share resources. - With the advent of computers and the prevalence of advertising there was a need to clarify ambiguities and bring Braille reproductions closer to print versions. - It was felt that a more straight forward code was needed for those learning Braille. As at the moment one sign can represent many things. The new code removes these ambiguities.


• Who created UEB?

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) began the project in 1992. Other English speaking countries became involved under the umbrella of the International Council of English Braille (ICEB). Over the years the code was developed and in 2004 it was recognised as the international standard. Unfortunately Ireland was not represented during the development phase of the code. Since then INBAF was created to represent Ireland on an international level and last year became an official member of the ICEB.


• What are the advantages of the new Unified English Braille code (UEB)?


No new contractions:

There are no new contractions in UEB. Nine contractions currently used have been abolished in UEB.


Contractions retained:

All other 180 contractions, wordsigns and shortforms are unchanged, although there are restrictions on the use of some shortform extensions. Nine contractions; ble, com, dd, ation, ally, o’clock, to, into and by used in SEB have been abolished in UEB. All other 180 contractions, wordsigns and shortforms are unchanged.


Sequencing removed:

Sequencing, the practice of writing some words unspaced from others, has been removed, i.e. the following words must now be written with spacing as in print:











This insures that it more closely represents print. UEB therefore eliminates the ambiguity caused by multiple meanings of symbols. Braille readers who are already familiar with literary braille will have little trouble switching to UEB as there are no new contractions. For a list of changes please see our UEB at a glance document.


• What are the disadvantages of the new Unified English Braille code (UEB)?

It will make the document slightly longer, by approximately 3%. In practical terms this means that for every 100 pages produced there will be an additional 3 pages in the document. Getting yourself up to date with the changes won’t take you long. Please see our document An Introduction to UEB and the Braille-ready version of the document


• What about the technical braille codes?

The technical codes have changed also to bring them into line with UEB. INBAF has set up a Steering Committee to look at implementation of all codes in Ireland. There are representatives from NCBI, Childvision and Visiting Teachers as well as Braille readers in the group. The Steering Committee has the full support of the Department of Education. Please check our website for all update . . .


• Will I need training for UEB? And what reference materials will I need?

INBAF will host informal gatherings for Braille users to outline the main changes in UEB, plans for which will be posted on inbaf.ie. All required reference materials (including a primer) will be provided on this website free of charge. Although we have now formally adopted UEB it will take some time for it to be implemented. There will be a change over period during which documents can be produced in both SEB and UEB. We will always endeavour to make the transition to UEB as smooth as possible. Please check back for updates


• What will happen to all of the documentation and books in Standard English Braille (SEB)?

All books and documentation produced in SEB will remain available and new ones will be produced in UEB. If needs be, books, for educational purposes, can be reproduced in UEB in agreement with the Braille producer


• I use a Braille Note taker/Braille display – how will UEB affect it?

UEB should not pose any problems for your Braille technology. If you find you are having difficulty please contact the manufacturer directly.


• Is my transcription software ready for UEB?

Duxbury, BrailleMaker and Dolphin have all confirmed UEB support. However you may require an upgrade. Contact your agent directly


• Where can I see a sample of UEB?

Simply Email us and we can send you a UEB sample.


• How do Irish and other languages fit in with UEB?

INBAF has set up an Irish Language Working Group who are working on the Irish primer. This will be available in due course. In relation to other languages there are now individual signs for various different accent indicators e.g. cedilla, grave, rather than using dot 4 to represent all. Please see the primer for a full list of changes.


If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch by Email




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