Under a contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress, the National Federation of the Blind offers a course in literary braille proofreading. This course qualifies successful applicants to proofread literature in braille. Students receive a Library of Congress certificate of competency for literary braille proofreading upon successful completion of the course.
The Library of Congress does not guarantee employment to certified proofreaders, but proofreaders may seek employment with local transcribing organizations. The Library will provide a list of such organizations upon request.
The course is taught by correspondence. It is taught entirely in braille and includes some materials in interpoint (two-sided) braille. There is no tuition charge. Necessary instruction materials are provided free of charge by the NFB.
- United States citizenship or residency
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Broad reading experience with braille books and materials
- Ability to read and write braille, using correct character formation and literary braille format, as demonstrated in the application letter
- Ability to type twenty-five words per minute without error
Prerequisite (Sighted Applicants Only)
- Sighted applicants must also be Library of Congress-certified in literary braille transcription for at least one year.
- A forty-cell slate, a braillewriter, or a computer using direct input or a software program
- A reliable dictionary
Some sources of manual braillewriters and slates include the NFB Independence Market, the American Printing House for the Blind, and Howe Press. Some sources of braille paper (11 by 11 ½ inches, for those not submitting exercises via email) include the NFB Independence Market, the American Printing House for the Blind, Howe Press, and American Thermoform.
The NFB recommends using a collegiate edition of any reputable dictionary that is less than ten years old. Examples would include: Webster's New World Dictionary or Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. If you prefer, please visit the online dictionary.
How the Course Works
Applicants who do not have a Library of Congress certificate in literary braille transcription will use the Instruction Manual to learn and/or review the official code for English braille. After completing the transcribing manual, students will receive a copy of Instructions in Braille Proofreading. This book consists of lessons that teach how to detect and correct errors, to prepare constructive reports to transcribers, and to use other proofreading techniques. During this part of the course, both print and braille report submissions are required. Lessons must be submitted in hard-copy braille. Thermoform copies are not acceptable. Hyphenation must be employed where appropriate. Computer programs using a literary braille translator may not be used in preparing lessons for this course.
Students who must study both the Instructional Manual for Braille Transcribing and the Instructions in Braille Proofreading usually require nine to twelve months to complete the proofreading course. Students who are already Library of Congress-certified in literary braille transcribing can usually complete the course in about three to four months.
How to Enroll
Applicants can enroll in the course in two ways.
Complete the application online.
Or mail a complete print application (Word doc) to:
National Federation of the Blind
Braille Certification Training Program
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Whether intending to take the course with a local teacher or through correspondence, prospective students must submit this application form before the course begins. Prospective students must also write a braille letter describing their qualifications and mail it to the address above. The application can be submitted online, but the letter must be received before the student is considered registered.
For more information, please email our braille certification training program at [email protected] or call us at 410-659-9314, extension 2510.