Blind, Braille and Embossing Technologies

This site uses cookies to personalize content and ads, provide social media features and analyze links. By closing this banner or continuing to browse, you consent to their use.
Read the DiGrande.it Cookie Policy

Save a PDF as accessible text for a braille printer

Published the 04/10/2017 00:00 

On the Adobe website, the company behind the famous PDF electronic document format, there is talk of accessible text for printing in Braille.

Adobe states: "You can save a PDF file as accessible text for printing using a Braille printer. You can import and print accessible text as a formatted grade 1 or 2 Braille document using a Braille conversion application."

Accessible text itself is somewhat contradictory, according to the "modest" accessibility standards of Biblos, because while simple text can indeed be printed in Braille as it is, it would lack the paratextual structure that I extensively described in a previous article, a structure that would truly make it accessible and usable.

Adobe continues by stating: "The textual version of a PDF does not contain images or multimedia objects, however, the textual version of an accessible PDF contains alternative textual descriptions for such objects if available."

Adobe concludes the very brief Online help by explaining what to do to save PDF documents in accessible text.

According to Adobe's measure, which intentionally removes complex objects from "accessible" saving, a simple Ansi or Utf8 text would be a useful format for printing in Braille. From my perspective - as a professional author and developer of Braille transcription and conversion Software - a simple text, or "accessible" (as Adobe calls it), is far from the term accessibility: only a pure image could be worse.

Even for Braille, a document is accessible when it is provided with all typographic elements to detect a paratextual structure. A structured document has greater potential to be subsequently printed in Braille. A simple text instead requires further processing to give it structure and make it printable in Braille.

Braille printing is not just a simple conversion of characters, but also the conversion of the typographic structure of a document that provides Braille with a way to replicate that structure even on a embossed printed page.

Perhaps Adobe has been misled by old Braille transcription systems, which made simple text the prince of accessibility. Today, even for Braille, it's not so. The Software I developed - Biblos - considers and exploits all the other typographic information of electronic documents, enriching Braille with a paratextual structure that simplifies reading for blind users.

For further support you can subscribe the Biblos Group on Facebook.