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Poetry, lists, and outlines: How Braille2000 has assisted me in the endeavor of braille transcription as a blind person

The combination of B2K and percent codes is wonders

Welcome to another article here on the technology blog and podcast web site. I’m not here to give any spoilers, however, I’m here to talk about assignment 18 and how I’ve learned to do poetry, lists, and outlines.

One caveat: this assignment is still in progress, and its not completed yet.

Please do not take this verbatim. This is a blog post on how something like this may be done. Always consult your instructor or person helping you if you need help.

My goal of this blog post is to show how a blind person can use Braille2000 in conjunction with WordPad, Word, or Google Documents to be able to produce good quality braille.

You’re welcome to play with the samples to see how it works, but please don’t call this assignment complete.

The assignment has many more parts to it other than poetry and outlines, and they may be presented as examples on how this is done later.

  • The page numbering sampled here is in conformance to the assignment
  • Typical percent codes such as %1-3 are used
  • Braille2000 and the style of the paragraph is used
  • Detailed non-speed braille keys will be given on how to do this

According to the lesson book, poetry and outlines are written in list format. Nested lists are used more for outlines, and some listed items like the lists found on the Braille Transcription done as a blind person web site. The outline here was very confusing because the braille is showing each item in the margin with no assistance. I read it carefully, and a mentor named Mrs. Taylor advised what the outline should eventually look like.

Again, I want to stress that the majority of this work was done alone, and understanding the structure of the outline and my understanding of it took some time. Since I’ve not done poetry or outlining, but read some through my life, this was definitely a learning experience for me.

I’m doing this assignment in pieces, because it is so lengthy. At the time of writing, I’m done with the poetry, the outline, and the paragraph list section dealing with CPR. The CPR section won’t be discussed here, but there are still several items yet to do.

The Percent Codes

No matter what you’re using, you’ll have to format it. Braille2000 can be adjusted by importing the entire file, and then adjust it upon looking at it. To do this, you’ll need different strategies.

Paragraphing

Paragraphing is done by adjust, paragraph style. Tab to the radio buttons, and select the option you want. Jaws and NVDA should read these dialogues and the info within them just fine. There are also preset options within that like indent1, block1, and many more which has set options that B2K will use.

The Running Head

The running head is needed on each particular portion of the assignment where the title of what you’re doing should go. To do a running head, select Do, Running Head. Note! It is important for the blind reader to understand that if you tab around, the default edit box will never be found in the tab order. You’re placed in to that automatically. Type the Running Head, and press enter. The radio button “text above” is automatically set once typing in to this edit box, and it can be changed throughout the file if needed. To edit it, just go to do, running head again.

New Paragraph Style

The New Paragraph style is found in the adjust menu, and works similar to the paragraph style. The difference between the two is dependent on the cursor. The Paragraph style fixes the current paragraph or highlighted text, while the new paragraph changes the way the enter key behaves.

So Lets get started

Lets get started. The assignment takes a page of assignment 17 where they use the hyphenated page numbering. To do this, The page numbering code has been adjusted to give you this capability. This is shown as a vertical bar, which on your computer keyboard, is shift and your backslash key. (|)

When you use the print page numbering scheme, the braille page number is not necessary, unless you change the braille page number as discussed in lesson 19 for transcribers and preliminary pages. For assignments 17 and 18, the page numbering is only print which asserts a braille page number 1 which is all you need.


%pn=18|12


Assignment 18 also gets a new twist, each portion of the assignment is given a running head if it goes on to a separate page. The first poem in this assignment does this.


%head
RECUERDO
%runhead
RECUERDO


I use the head tag for the heading for this one, as the first page doesn’t have a running head. A new percent code page with no running head (pager) is put at the top of the file, to indicate that this page should not utalize the running head. This is very important when we get to the second poem which is only a page, but we do not know this until transcription importing. This is why I have decided to assert the running head in case it does. I do this with the first one, and it does run in to a new page, only by a few lines.

There are also attributions, and the rules on them were studied in assignment 17. Those are done with the %x-y tag (examples: %1-3 %5-7) but I choose to do it as the same cell as %7-7 even though it should not run over.

The formatting of poetry is done in the nested list format which is discussed in the lesson book. They point you to read more if poetry includes other attributions or things that I’m not too familiar with.

Braille Formats Principals of Print to Braille Transcription 2016 Section 13: Braille Authority of North America

If my understanding of this is correct, here is how I coded the first poem. Remember! Your milage will vary, and since this is ungraded, I can only tell you how I did it, based on my understanding of it, and nothing more.


%head
RECUERDO
%runhead
RECUERDO
%1-3
We were very tired, we were very merry —
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable —
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on the hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
%space
We were very tired, we were very merry —
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
%space
We were very tired, we were very merry —
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.
%7-7
Edna St. Vincent Millay


The space command (%space) allows Braille2000 to insert a blank line. This is important in many different formatting chores, not just the poetry aspect of this assignment. It is also used in the lists format which is discussed in this assignment, and it may be used elsewhere. The poem sample above taken from the assignment was my interpretation of it, and you are welcome to play with the codes to see what it can do if you changed it.

The pager command I gave you earlier becomes very handy here, because the assignment talks about each section starting on a brand new page. The running head, must be the same as the title you’re working on. So, with the background in mind, we introduce you to the next page command (%np) and it goes to the next page number automatically.


%pager
%np
%head
THE WIND
by Robert Louis Stevenson
%runhead
The Wind

%space
%1-5
I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies’ skirts across the grass–
%3-5
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
%space
%1-5
I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all–
%3-5
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
%space
%1-5
O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
%3-5
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!


This was a little more complex because I’m going from the first level of list to the second. The braille clearly shows this. This portion took a little bit to understand, and I feel by giving you the assignment in full will not be productive. Instead, the samples should be used as a general guide of how to use percent codes to do an assignment like this. There is plenty more in this assignment that won’t be covered here, and so far I’m 10 pages in. I’ve got no idea how many pages it’ll be, and I have not asked.

What about the outline?

The outline is more challenging. The braille I think was put in 1-1 to force a braille reader to figure out the spacing on that. If I knew better and I tried this, I’d fail! Thanks to Mrs. Taylor for assisting with the basic concept of the outline. This outline should be shown in full, as it trumps the third poem’s 1-5 three-level aspect. Keep in mind, that when I did this, I kept looking at the B2K program asking for style info, and comparing it with what I had understood. Overall, I got it, and I’m looking forward to getting the last of the assignment done with a story and a recipe to go if I remember it correctly.

What has tripped me up is the fact that the titles are bolded and in braille, we don’t have the titles of these things in any emphasis. Remember that there may be words or other aspects that need their emphasis, so watch for that. This is true for the poetry aspect, as the third poem which is not shown may have words that have emphasis. As the student, you alone, need to check for these. The sampling here may or may not even include said emphasis, which is why I say that it should be used as samples of how I ended up doing things.

Here’s how I coded the outline.


%pager
%np
%head
NEW SCHOOL NEEDED
%runhead
NEW SCHOOL NEEDED
%1-11
I. Structural deterioration of existing Wilson High School building
%3-11
A. Damaged roof covering and rotting roof timbers
%5-11
1. Three major leaks during last year
2. Dust problem caused by termite damage
%3-11
B. Crumbling stairwells and broken handrails
C. Insufficient fireproofing and safety protection
%5-11
1. Four fires during last year
2. Denial of safety rating by city fire marshal
%7-11
a. Antiquated sprinkler system
%9-11
(1) Not enough outlets
(2) Not enough water pressure for sustained operation
%7-11
b. Inadequate electrical wiring
c. Insufficient fire-escape routes for current enrollment
%1-11
II. Inadequate education plan for current and projected enrollment at WHS
%3-11
A. Shortage of physical space
%5-11
1. No laboratory facilities for science students
2. Lounges and closet areas currently used for classrooms
%7-11
a. All tenth grade English classes
b. Three eleventh grade French classes
c. Two twelfth grade hygiene classes
%5-11
3. No gymnasium or locker-room facilities
%3-11
B. Shortage of equipment
%5-11
1. No ranges or ovens for home economics students
%np
2. No lights or bleachers on outdoor playing field
3. No spare athletic uniforms
%3-11
C. Shortage of money
%5-11
1. For new programs
%7-11
a. Cancellation of planned state workshop in teacher education
b. Curtailment of new art program
%9-11
(1) No money for supplies for sculpture students
(2) No money for demonstration lectures by local artists
%5-11
2. For teachers
%7-11
a. No money for much-needed additional general science teacher
b. No salary raises for WHS teachers in three years


This was quite complicated, and I know that people will want to see something like this. If you copied the text and put it in to braille2000’s editor, you can use the talking edition to be able to check the formatting and see if thats what you intended. When Miss Taylor indicated fixes because I miscalculated where I was and how it was memorized, it turned out that I could verify this through speak style and it tells me. I am glad Bob taught me speed braille, because I have 4 defined including that one.

The others are page, line, cell (speak as) read the line, and read the paragraph.

The purpose of this is not to have the discussion of what the speedbraille keys are, but to show you what I have done to make my work better.

The poetry and outlines aspect of Braille2000 and the transcription course makes this product work well for me. Even with Mrs. Taylor’s help with the understanding of transcribing poetry and outlines, I pretty much figured it out on my own. With checking with B2K and also a brailleout of the first poem, I’m sure that my assignment as a whole will be something I’m proud to be able to percent code and check, all on my own.

I’m still going to rely on a braille out of the assignment, because you can catch something that speech may not be able to tell you. You may be tired, and you may have made a mistake, so its better to also read it, especially with an assignment as complex as this.

Other transcription software packages rely on templates. B2K relies on its own editing tools, percent codes which can be used in Word, Wordpad, or Google Documents, or other compatible Rich Text editor(s) out there. The talking edition can be used to be able to check a portion of your work to determine if you the transcriber are doing it correctly.

There’s more than one way to possibly do work like this, and you may find a better way with the percent codes. I’m happy I have a choice, should you give this a try?

Why do you not want to try Braille2000 yet? The power I’ve given you just with these examples of the assignment still being done can show you what you’re capable of. Can the transcription software you chose do this?

If it does, I’d love to learn more! Templates in word may be good for some, but some don’t have word like me. Would those templates work within something like Google’s documents? Only you can decide, not me. I’m happy I have the choice on how I want to work on these documents, and I am sure that others may do theirs differently than this.

Thanks so much for reading, and do contact Bob or I through the B2K or transcribing as a blind person web sites and ask us questions on how this powerful software can work for you!


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Poetry, lists, and outlines: How Braille2000 has assisted me in the endeavor of braille transcription as a blind person was released on February 19, 2020 at 9:00 am by tech in Braille 2000.
Last modified: February 17, 2020.


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