The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) coordinates and promotes the use of braille throughout the English-speaking world. It is most well-known for the creation of the Unified English Braille (UEB) code, which is now widely adopted and replaces a collection of country-specific braille codes that previously hindered the upkeep and sharing of braille.
I was honoured to represent Australia at the ICEB mid-term Executive meeting in Dublin, Ireland, along with representatives from England, Scotland, Ireland, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and New Zealand. The main focus of the four-day meeting was progressing work on UEB, braille music, braille technology and braille promotion.
We were very pleased to come to a resolution on one of our most hotly debated issues in braille over the past two years: the apostrophe. In braille, the single quotation mark and the apostrophe are represented using two different symbols. However, print often uses the exact same mark or even the incorrect symbol. This causes problems for automated translation from print to braille, especially on refreshable braille displays which are rapidly coming down in price and made available to many more people. ICEB will write new, clearer rules for the apostrophe and quotation marks, and produce a decision table for use by braille technology manufacturers to minimise errors.