World Braille Usage

Fingers reading braille.

Often described as "the braille bible," World Braille Usage is a compilation of braille codes for languages from around the globe. The reference book is designed to answer educators' questions about proper braille usage, and promote consistency within each country's braille code. It also preserves braille codes for rare and endangered languages. 

Perkins worked with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Library of Congress  and the International Council on English Braille to update World Braille Usage in 2013 for the first time in 23 years.

This most recent third edition includes braille codes for 133 languages, up from 97 languages in the previous edition. A special effort was made to collect braille codes for indigenous and mother-tongue languages, which allows more students to learn braille in the language they grew up speaking.

All languages in the book are based on a standardized system of phonetics, which makes possible the inclusion of character-based languages such as Mandarin. The latest edition also includes eight of the most commonly used tribal languages in South Africa, as well as Iñupiaq from Alaska, Khmer from Cambodia and Ndebele from Zimbabwe.

World Braille Usage was first published in 1953, and the second edition followed in 1990. The latest 2013 edition is available in a downloadable format as a PDF. Because of the highly graphical nature of the PDF publication, the symbols for the characters are not readily accessible to assistive technology users.

Download World Braille Usage, Third Edition as a PDF

To download an electronic braille (.brf) version of this publication that is accessible to users within the braille-reading community, please use the links below. The book is in five volumes, each with its own .brf file presented in uncontracted braille. For users who want to emboss a paper hardcopy, these files are 25 lines by 40 cells.