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Braille codes

The meaning given to the 63 braille dot combinations and the rules for using them are called the braille code.

Braille is read throughout the world, and just as different countries speak different languages, the rules for braille are slightly different in each country. For example, each country will choose braille signs which are most appropriate to the language.

The development and upkeep of braille rules tends to be managed by Braille Authorities in each individual country. A book entitled World Braille Usage summarises the basics of the braille codes used in over 140 countries.

The braille code regulation in the UK

The UK Association of Accessible Formats (UKAAF) is the organisation responsible for braille code regulation in the UK. In 2011, the UKAAF board voted to adopt the Unified English Braille (UEB) code. There followed a four-year period of transition until the end of 2015 and UEB has now replaced the older code, Standard English Braille (SEB), as the official braille code of the United Kingdom.

Unified English Braille (UEB)

The Unified English Braille (UEB) code is regulated by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). UEB was developed over many years and has now been adopted in all the major English-speaking countries of the world. As well as unifying countries, UEB also unifies subjects. We now have one code, UEB, to represent both literary and technical subjects.

Students will no longer have to learn a separate code for maths and science. An extensive and up to date list of resources and documents can be found on the UKAAF UEB page.

Uncontracted braille (grade one) and contracted braille (grade two)

Uncontracted braille (grade one) and contracted braille (grade two) are produced in most countries. However, over recent years there has been increased production of uncontracted braille in several European countries to try to increase readership and encourage more blind and partially sighted people to learn braille.

Specialist braille codes

With the introduction of UEB, several specialist braille codes such as maths, science and languages became redundant in the UK, because UEB covers them. However, several specialist braille codes such as chess and music remain.

Braille alphabet card

The braille alphabet card shows the embossed braille alphabet, basic punctuation marks and numbers, together with the print equivalent. A single copy of the card can be obtained for free from our Online Shop or by calling our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and quoting product code: PR10223.