Literary Braille Proofreading 

Course Information

Course Overview

Under a contract with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute 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 Jernigan Institute.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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 25 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 six months.

Equipment required

One of the following may be used:

  • 40-cell slate
  • Braillewriter
  • Computer using a six-key direct input and/or translation software program

Some sources of slates and braillewriters include:

National Federation of the Blind, Independence Market 
200 East Wells Street
      at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Howe Press
Watertown, MA 02472

Braille paper (11 x 11' inches), some sources for braille paper are:

National Federation of the Blind, Independence Market
200 East Wells Street
     at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Howe Press
Watertown, MA 02472

Star Continuous Cards
32 Bacton Hill Road
Frazer, PA 19355-1026

A reliable dictionary is required.

The NFB Jernigan Institute 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, Fourth Edition, 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
  • 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

Contact: Jennifer Dunnam, Manager of Braille Programs
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
Phone: (612) 767-5658
E-mail: transcribers@nfb.org