APH's New Braille Blaster may become an indispensable tool for transcribers and students, and it's available now for free.
Since its focus is on transcribing textbooks for school, Braille Blaster's emphasis is on processing National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) files which are often provided by publishers to turn books into braille.
Braille Blaster is more than a simple transcription tool, however, and takes care of many of the nuances that would have been a manual process in the past, such as adding transcriber notes for uncommon symbols or separating a textbook into volumes.
The transcription is near instantaneous, and is displayed on parallel windows on the screen. One can Tab or Shift + Tab to jump between the print and braille version of the text. Using a screen reader, the braille reads using their print representations, for example a comma reads as 1 which happens to be the computer Braille version of dot 2. IN our tests of the Windows version, the program was quite accessible with a screen reader. APH also offers versions for Mac and Linux platforms.
In addition to NIMAS, Braille Blaster can process direct input and also reads text files. Since its focus is on the classroom, other common formats such as Microsoft Word .DOCX or Adobe .PDF are not included currently. One could convert a Word file to text and then import it, but the formatting would naturally be lost. Braille Blaster can transcribe into several formats including the current Unified English Braille (UEB) or the previous English Braille American Edition (EBAE) as well as Nemeth and other permutations of the above.
Braille Blaster does have one additional bargaining chip on its side, its price of free. You can check the source link on this post to learn more or to get a copy for yourself.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.