Compound hyphenated words

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  crichardson 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    A couple of our new transcribers got their manuscript reports back and were counted off for dividing compound hyphenated words at the end of the braille line.
    According to Braille Formats 1.10.1 division between lines is an agency decision. UEB rules 10.13.2 says that if a hyphenated word is divided between lines to retain the normal braille form of the word, thereby implying that it is okay to divide the word. There is an example of a hyphenated compound word divided at the end of the line at 8.4.3.
    The question from our braille instructor is whether or not to tell students not to divide compound hyphenated words at the end of the line?
    I hope you can straighten this up.
    Thanks, Lynnette

    Dan Gergen
    Students of the NLS course are made aware that they do not divide symbols-sequences in the trial manuscript. Instructions are contained in Lesson 20, §20.5 “… do not divide symbols-sequences between lines unless they are too long to fit on one line.”
    Students preparing their manuscripts should be reminded of this.


    Are there any plans to rewrite the manual? It’s a mess. The sentence you refer to in Lesson 20 reads: “Start the first chapter on a new braille page, and do not divide symbols-sequences between lines unless they are too long to fit on one line.” Why would these two rules appear in the SAME sentence? Why would the manual refer to dividing symbols-sequences under 20.5 Beginning Pages? That’s the problem with the whole manual–it’s not organized so that all of the information for each topic is listed with the topic. The instructions for the words THE END are under 20.3, Choosing a Book for the Manuscript. (?) One has to literally go through the last chapters line by line several times to find all of the important references/rules because the information is so scattered.

    Regarding the answer “unless they are too long to fit on one line,”  okay, I’m an idiot, but why else would I divide a symbols-sequence? So, to me, the answer doesn’t make any sense. If a symbols-sequence is too long for one line and the transcriber divides it using a hyphen as in print, why are points taken off?

    Will you please explain why there are two sets of rules, one for the manuscript and then the UEB rules? The word division rule is extremely important, something a transcriber learns, remembers, and applies. Why should the manuscript rule for word division be different? Use one rule, Lesson 20, 20.5, for your manuscript and then when you actually transcribe a book, use another rule, UEB 8.4.3.  Who benefits by having two rules?

    Thank you,

    C. Richardson



    I have to say that I don’t believe that this is reasonable. Nowhere in the rules would this be stated and surely the rules are more important that the lessons.

    It also seems to me that compound hyphenated words should be an exemption from this statement as there is discussion about dividing them in both the UEB rules and Braille Formats.

    But, thanks for the quick reply.





    Dan Gergen

    I don’t think the language in §20.5 is establishing a “separate set of rules.” It’s something totally unique that only applies to the trial manuscript and not something that must always be done. The manuscript is a test and quite often instructions in many other institutions have rules for testing that are different than in “the real world.”

    The NLS course is only a gateway to the world of braille transcribing and follows the Rules of UEB and Braille Formats and provides consistent cross-references to those codes for students’ further study. If you are at all familiar with the course, you would know that the division of hyphenated compound words is mentioned in Lesson 12, on page 12-10.

    In the instructions that precede the Lesson 12 exercise, students are given this further instruction:

    “… When room permits, hyphenated-compound words may be divided between lines, but only following the hyphen. … ”

    So again, —the §20.5 instruction is only a temporary request between the grader and the student. It is not a separate rule.



    Julie Sumwalt

    Dan is correct; I couldn’t have said it better.

    Braille on,




    Again, what benefit is a “temporary rule” for the student?



    Dan Gergen

    UEB §10.13 reads in part, “Be aware that the braille authorities of some countries have specific guidelines on word division and such guidelines if available should be followed.”

    Braille Formats §1.10.1 “Hyphenated compound words may be divided between lines at an agency’s discretion.” The Library of Congress/National Library Service is the agency that students have been receiving their assignments and grades from. For the sake of our student-transcribers, the instructions in §20.5, I believe are in compliance with UEB and Braille Formats. (Julie, do you agree?)



    Again, what benefit are dual rules to the student?

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