Unified English Braille (UEB) is a braille code designed by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) to provide a single code that can be used for literary and technical materials throughout the English-speaking world. UEB is used in these countries:
- Australia – adopted May 2005 (doc 20kb)
- Canada – implemented 4 January 2016
- Ireland – adopted 2 December 2013
- New Zealand – adopted November 2005
- Nigeria – adopted February 2005 (doc 24kb)
- South Africa – adopted May 2004 (doc 19kb)
- United Kingdom – adopted October 2011
- United States of America – implemented 4 January 2016
Future implementation of UEB is planned in these countries:
- Singapore – planned implementation in 2016/2017
UEB Proficiency Examination in Australia and New Zealand
The ABA administers the Trans-Tasman Certificate of Proficiency in Unified English Braille in conjunction with the Braille Authority of New Zealand Aotearoa Trust (BANZAT). This Certificate is the only form of accreditation currently available to braille specialists in Australia. The Australian Braille Authority strongly encourages all those who transcribe, teach and produce braille to strive to attain this certificate. The examination is held in Australia in the first two weeks of October each year. All candidates have one full week period in which to sit the test and can elect their preferred week beginning on 1 or 8 October.
Please refer to the Trans-Tasman Certificate of Proficiency in Unified English Braille page for further details, including sample papers.
UEB references and training materials
The Rules of Unified English Braille – second edition (2013)
The Rules of Unified English Braille (commonly known as the “UEB Rulebook”) was first published by the Round Table, in collaboration with the International Council on English Braille, in June 2010. It is the key reference text containing all of the rules of Unified English Braille with examples and further references. The second edition (2013) of the Rulebook is now available, providing new rules and appendices.
Please note that two new words have been added to the shortforms list in Appendix 1 of the Rulebook: unsaid and unrepaid. The shortforms for said and paid may now be used in these longer words.
UEB Australian Training Manual (revised 2016)
The Unified English Braille Training Manual is a series of lessons and practice exercises by which teachers, transcribers and parents can learn UEB.
UEB Online is an online training program designed for sighted people to learn UEB. This free program offers self-paced learning without the need for a braille machine or software.
Guidelines for Technical Material (2014)
The Guidelines for Technical Materials (2014) were produced by the ICEB’s Maths Focus Group to provide information and examples on how to transcribe maths, science and computing materials in UEB.
UEB Braille Chart
The UEB Braille Chart from Duxbury Systems provides a quick reference of the UEB braille letters, numbers, contractions, punctuation and composition signs. It is designed to be printed on A3 paper at the smallest.
Ozzie Dots is a systematic approach to assist students, their teachers and aides with learning to read and write the the contractions of Unified English Braille in the early years of schooling. The program is provided as a CD with print and braille files. The first set, comprising of 15 books, is available as a free download.
International Council on English Braille
Australia is a member of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). The purpose of ICEB is to coordinate and improve braille standards for the benefit of all English-speaking users of braille. Its most significant work to date has been the development of UEB.
The members of ICEB are countries where English-language braille is widely used and which have a Braille Authority. ICEB has eight members: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America. The ICEB President is Pete Osborne and Australia’s Bill Jolley serves on the Executive as Treasurer. The most active committee of the ICEB is the UEB Codes Maintenance Committee (CMC), which monitors the use of UEB and updates it as appropriate. Australia is represented on the CMC by Christine Simpson and Leona Holloway. Australia’s Jordie Howell is the Chair of the ICEB Braille Music Committee. Other ICEB Committees cover topics including braille technologies, braille signage and labelling, UEB training materials and UEB accreditation.
The Fifth ICEB General Assembly was held in South Africa in May 2012. Australia’s delegation, appointed by the ABA, consisted of Christine Simpson, Bill Jolley, Josie Howse and Leona Holloway. Bill Jolley was re-elected to the ICEB Executive as Treasurer. John Simpson was also in attendance. A report of the Australian delegation (doc, 3.2MB) or (brf 20kb) gives more information, including the resolutions of the Assembly. We thank the Round Table and those members who contributed funds enabling the Australian delegation’s attendance at the General Assembly.
The General Assembly flagged a change of emphasis for ICEB; with the coding of UEB virtually complete it is time to refocus ICEB’s energy on the promotion of Braille generally and the promulgation of UEB, particularly in developing countries. A full program, recordings, papers, reports and associated documents from the ICEB General Assembly (in print or braille) are available on the ICEB 2012 website.
History of UEB
Refer to our UEB History page for information on Australia’s involvement in ICEB and the development of UEB; our reasons for adoption; and UEB implementation in Australia.