FAQs

Contents

  1. How do I join UKAAF?
  2. Why should I join UKAAF?
  3. How do I find an accessible format supplier?
  4. Are there any transcription standards in the UK?
  5. What is large print?
  6. What is audio?
  7. What is braille?
  8. What are tactile graphics?
  9. How do we make our building accessible?
  10. I want to produce our local community newsletter in audio. Do you have any advice?
  11. I’m thinking of starting my own transcription company. Do you have any advice?
  12. How did UKAAF set its subscription rates?
  13. What’s the appropriate category of membership for me?
  14. I am supporting a blind student. How do I get the text they need in braille?
  15. I’m a member so how do I use the UKAAF logo to demonstrate my membership?

This document collects previous enquiries and suggests responses to those enquiries. The purpose of the document is to agree the responses to FAQs so that colleagues who answer enquiries are presenting UKAAF’s united front to the public and members, and to gather the information for the FAQ page on UKAAF’s website.

1. How do I join UKAFF?

Electronic application forms to join UKAAF are available at www.ukaaf.org  If you’d like to request a hard copy application form, please email admin@ukaaf.org or call 0845 60 85223. Tell us your preferred format and your postal address and we will send you a membership application form.

2. Why should I join UKAAF?

UKAAF is the industry association whose vision is a world in which blind and partially sighted people and other print-disabled people receive quality accessible formats which meet their reading needs.  Members include individuals and organisations with an interest in the provision of quality accessible formats such as transcribers, service providers, educators, researchers, print services, publishers, and end-users.

Through its leadership and representation, standards-setting, and by fostering a spirit of co-operation between members, UKAAF will ensure the needs and requirements of end-users can be understood by service providers and transcribers to help improve the quality of accessible formats.

There are many benefits of being a member of UKAAF, not least to demonstrate your commitment to quality accessible formats.

Suppliers of transcription services are represented by UKAAF and will gain access to:

  • Industry-wide networking opportunities,
  • Advice and information including published standards, codes and technical specification as well as guidance on how to achieve industry standards,
  • Accreditation of quality-driven transcription,
  • Findings from public consultations and end-user research,
  • Research and innovation in accessible formats.
  • Opportunities for promoting your business to service providers,
  • Industry leadership and representation.

UKAAF assists businesses and organisations by advising how to meet the needs of print-disabled customers and clients; will provide guidance on how to source and provide quality accessible formats like large print, audio, braille; and help you to understand your responsibilities as a service provider.

Service providers will also gain access to:

  • Findings from public consultations and end-user research,
  • Research and innovation in accessible formats,
  • Information on suppliers of transcription services,
  • Advice on standards of accessible formats.

UKAAF represents blind and partially sighted people and other print-disabled people. We believe that because format quality matters, end-users should have genuine input into the development of standards of accessible information.

By collecting and sharing users’ views with service providers and transcribers we can help them to deliver a quality service which meets users’ needs.

UKAAF has created a User Advisory Group (UAG) so we can include members in ongoing research and consultation on key accessible format issues.

3. How do I find an accessible format supplier?

See our Directory of Member Services on this website. The Directory lists transcription service providers and providers of other services related to accessible formats. Inclusion in the Directory isn’t an endorsement any of the organisations listed, nor does it guarantee the quality of the service offered by each organisation.

UKAAF’s advice is to approach more than one of the organisations in the Directory of Services to request a quote and to check whether each organisation can complete the work to your standards and timescale.

UKAAF has guidance for organisations on drafting service level agreements with an accessible formats supplier. The guidance is available free of charge from the guidance section of our website.

If you’d like to consider joining UKAAF, please go to the Membership section of this website.

4. Are there any transcription standards in the UK?

There are currently no transcription accreditation schemes implemented in the UK. UKAAF has published a range of minimum standards for transcribing some accessible formats, but these do not form an accredited standard. There are, however, expectations that you should have of an accessible format transcriber.

There are rules and conventions about providing braille. They cover things such as the braille code being used and the layout of a document. Your transcription provider should be following these rules to transcribe into braille.

You can also check whether a supplier is a member of applicable organisations. For transcription, UKAAF is the only representative organisation in the UK. Some organisations are members of other representative organisations such as:

  • British Printing Industries Federation,
  • Independent Print Industries Association,
  • The Translators Association,
  • The Association of Translation Companies, etc.

There are also some general accreditations that you may like your suppliers to either hold, or to be working towards, such as Investors in People, or other quality schemes such as ISO certification, for instance.

If you’re looking for a transcription supplier who’s a member of UKAAF, see our Directory of Member Services.

UKAAF has guidance for organisations on drafting service level agreements with an accessible formats supplier. The guidance is available free of charge from the guidance section of our website.

5. What is large print?

Large print is not simply the original document enlarged, but, because of the range of eye problems and preferences for print sizes, there cannot be one standard for large print. Large print documents should be at least 16 point, but large print is also widely produced in 24 point (which is also known as giant print).  At these point sizes, features in the original document, such as tables and styled lists, will need to be edited and re-designed to suit the larger format. This means that the document will look quite different to the original and may take some work to create. See UKAAF’s guidance on clear and large print in the guidance section of this website.

6. What is audio?

The audio format is basically the original document in a spoken format. The speech is either in the form of human voice or synthetic speech. The quality of synthetic speech has improved significantly, but many audio users still prefer live voice presentation for long or complex documents. Transcription into audio requires some thought and re-formatting to ensure that the finished audio version is easy to follow and navigate. Finished audio documents are provided on audio cassettes, on CDs or as electronic files, such as MP3, MP4, etc. The decline of audio cassette technology means that the CD format is becoming more popular, although the electronic file formats are also increasingly popular. See UKAAF’s guidance on audio production in the guidance section of this website.

7. What is braille?

Braille is a tactile system for blind and partially sighted people to read and write. It is a sequence of raised (embossed) dots representing letters, numerals, punctuation and words. A braille cell is made up of six dots arranged in two columns of three dots. The UEB rules define how combinations of these dots are used to represent letter, words, numbers and punctuation. Since the adoption of UEB as the main braille code in the UK, the only other technical code used is for music.

There are also different codes for other languages of the world, such as Welsh, French, Spanish and German. The Unified English Braille code is used in all of the other major English-language countries in the world including Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the United States.

8. What are tactile graphics?

Tactile graphics are raised diagrams and pictures to be read by touch, rather than by sight. Generally, diagrams and illustrations tend to be omitted from documents intended for the blind and partially sighted, but it can be helpful and beneficial to include re-drawn diagrams or tactile graphics. A good transcription company will be able to re-design an illustration in a way that can be helpful for large print and braille users, meaning that the drawing is only re-designed once.

Traditionally, tactile graphics have been mainly used in an education setting, but many partially-sighted people benefit from using tactile graphics in a work and leisure setting. If you’re a service provider, consider producing tactile graphics in your next accessible publication and see what your blind and partially sighted customers think of it. You will need to check that your transcription provider is able to provide tactile graphics when commissioning the document.

9. How do we make our building accessible?

UKAAF is the representative body for accessible print formats in the UK, but some of our transcriber members also offer services that can help you make your building accessible. See the Directory of Member Services. There is also a National register of access consultants which lists the professional consultants throughout the country See http://www.nrac.org.uk/

10. I want to produce our local community newsletter in audio. Do you have any advice?

The UKAAF website has plenty of guidance on producing different accessible formats. See the guidance section of our website. If you’d like to join UKAAF, please go to www.ukaaf.org for information on how to join.

There is also an organisation, Talking News Federation, which supports local talking news initiatives throughout the UK. They also have fact sheets for members giving advice on producing audio versions local newsletters, magazines and newspapers. Go to http://www.tnf.org.uk/ for more information.

11. I’m thinking of starting my own transcription company. Do you have any advice?

There are quite a few transcription companies, and some are listed in the UKAAF Directory of Member Services. There’s also the RNIB Sightline Directory. You may want to consider as a first port of call contacting a few of these to see if you they have any advice to offer. You could also offer your services as a subcontractor for when they’re busy. You may need to consider that some of these may wish to have police checks carried out or that they may expect you to have a level of indemnity insurance.

The second bit of advice UKAAF would offer, although we are by no means an expert in starting a business, is do some leg work before making any firm decisions. Check your local area for potential customers and for advisors who may be able to help you. There may also be funding that you can access.

If you plan to go ahead, we would also suggest you consider joining UKAAF. UKAAF’s website will show you what plans UKAAF has for the accessible format industry. The website also has a wealth of information for transcription services. UKAAF’s guidance documents will be very useful in helping you establish your procedures and standards.

12. How did UKAAF set its subscription rates?

An organisation such as UKAAF can only succeed with the financial support of membership subscriptions. To this end, the Board gave a great deal of thought to the level of subscription being asked of potential members. In order to set the correct level of subscription, the Board took into consideration the subscription rates paid to the three previous organisations, the number of UKAAF members inherited from the previous organisations and subscription rates paid to other professional organisations in the UK.

Subscriptions are UKAAF’s main source of income for the immediate future, so the rates had to be set at a realistic level.  The Board felt that £60 for full individual or organisation representative membership, and a significantly reduced rate of £25 for a personal income of less than £15,000, was an appropriate rate to be part of such an organisation.

If you decide that the subscription rates are too high for what UKAAF is currently offering, we’d just ask that you keep in touch with our progress through the website and possibly consider joining when you think that we are offering the right number of benefits for the subscription rate.

13. What’s the appropriate category of membership for me?

In the Membership section of UKAAF’s website, there’s a very full description of membership categories. If you’re an individual who is actively providing or promoting accessible formats, or work for an organisation that does the same, and as long as your personal income is more than £15,000 per annum, then you should be applying for full membership. If you’re an individual who is actively providing or promoting accessible formats and your personal income is less than £15,000 per annum, then you should be applying for full membership at the reduced rate. If you’re a user of accessible formats in then you should be applying to be a member of UKAAF’s User Advisory Group. You can choose whether to pay for a subscription to Format Matters or whether to just join the UAG at no cost. Subscription to Format Matters is also available to individuals and organisations who simply want to keep in touch with UKAAF’s work. The current subscription cost for Format Matters is £15 per annum.

14. I am supporting a blind student. How do I get the text they need in braille?

Your Local Authority Sensory Support Service might be able to help in the first place. There are also many well-known and classic texts available online, but it may not be the specific version that you are using. Load2Learn is a great place to start looking for education resources in accessible or at least editable formats.

Questions like yours are often asked on the VI Forum, a BECTA email list for teachers and professionals supporting pupils and students with visual impairment. The VI Forum can be found here

15. I’m a member so how do I use the UKAAF logo to demonstrate my membership?

Just get in touch! Drop us an email and we will send you the information you need to choose which logo you would like to use. It is restricted to members only and you are expected to only use the logo whilst you, or your organisation, are members of UKAAF. It’s also expected that you support the aims and objectives of the organisation and that the use of this logo will suggest this. The guidance also provides information on the position and colour surrounding the logo.