Be a Braille Translator
By Eric Hammer
A rather unusual profession, a Braille translator is someone
who works to translate things between two languages. While the
experience is quite similar to that of any other translator,
there are some key differences between the two jobs. In essence,
an ordinary translator has to be able to understand the nuances
of the language they are translating into while also speaking
the language they are translating from fluently. It is for this
reason that most translation jobs require that you translate
into your native language from a language you may have learned
later on in life.
In the case of a Braille translator, there are two things
that are different. First, by definition, this will not be your
native language. The only people who ever grow up reading Braille
are those who are born blind. However, unless they happen to
regain their eyesight through an operation later on in life,
they will never be able to effectively translate from other languages
into Braille. Therefore, the job of Braille translator is generally
a job for the sighted.
How Much Can You Make?
According to Salary Expert, the salary for a Braille translator
is roughly equivalent to that of a traditional translator. The
work pays in the range of $38,000-$49,000 per year depending
on where you happen to live in the country. Of course, salaries
could go higher for the more senior Braille translators, those
who have been doing the work for years and they could be lower
for those just starting out in the business.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Those interested in becoming Braille translators need to be
sensitive to what it's like to read a book when you are blind.
You read by touching plates which are physically raised to allow
you to understand the words. The whole experience is different
from reading in the sighted sense of the word since it is a tactile
experience. It's also important to realize, as noted above, that
the blind cannot simply be told "her hair was red,"
since that is meaningless to them. They need a physical representation
of features to understand what something looks like, similar
to the face masks that they use for "seeing" a picture
of a person.
Working as a Braille translator also means that you may be
able to expand your horizons to work into other fields, such
as Braille tutor for the newly blind or even as a Braille editor.
Keep in mind as well that while rare, it may be occasionally
possible to translate from Braille into English if someone blind
happened to write a book using Braille.
Qualifications / Requirements
Generally, you'll need to take courses in reading Braille
and sometimes, courses which are specifically intended for those
translating from English to Braille. There are generally no formal
licensing requirements however, so once you understand Braille,
you can usually find work with a company which specializes in
this field as a junior translator.
Start by taking courses in Braille to learn how to read it.
Familiarize yourself with a number of works in Braille and understand
what is involved in reading and translating Braille. Then, look
for a job as a junior translator with a company specializing
in Braille translation. While it is possible to be a freelance
Braille translator as well, work may be harder to come by if
you have no experience.
Check out these helpful resources to learn more about how
to become a Braille translator:
Wisegeek: How Do I Become a Braille Translator?
- This is a good general introduction to the topic of becoming
a Braille translator.
American Foundation for the Blind: New Career as
a Braille Textbook Transcriber - This is an article about
the challenge of finding enough qualified Braille translators
and what the AFB is doing about trying to encourage more people
to take up the profession of Braille translator.