To become a Braille translator, it is necessary to have a familiarity with Braille and one or more other writing systems, to be able to translate freely back and forth. Braille translation is used for everything from producing textbooks accessible to members of the blind community to developing signage for blind people so they can interact with automatic teller machines and other devices. While machine translation of Braille is available, for some tasks, it is necessary to use a human translator.
As with translation between other writing systems and languages, Braille translation is about more than creating a one-to-one correspondence between two texts. The translator must also think about issues like syntax, what is being communicated, and how to convey concepts across barriers. One important aspect of the work involves describing visuals; a picture is meaningless to a blind reader and a person who wants to become a Braille translator needs to be adept at turning purely visual information like charts into a form accessible to blind people.
Someone who wants to become a Braille translator will need to go to a school where Braille is taught. Some schools specifically offer Braille translation classes, teaching people about how to translate smoothly between Braille and other writing systems. These classes can include training on devices used to produce Braille documents, as well as an opportunity to work with machine translators designed to do things like converting computer documents into Braille formats.
With training in Braille, a person who wants to become a Braille translator can go to work for a company that produces Braille materials. Usually, the translator starts out with small projects under supervision and gradually acquires more skills, eventually taking on bigger projects. Some people choose to specialize in particular topics, like translation of scientific research, informational pamphlets for blind patients, and interpretation of visual materials like charts and pictures. Others may work with a wide variety of printed materials.
Salary options for a person who wants to become a Braille translator vary. Freelancers can control the amount of work they get and set their own fees, but also do not enjoy very much job security, especially in the early stages of freelance work when they are not well known. People who work for others may make less, but they will have a steady supply of work and can get benefits through their employers. People with special skill sets may be able to command more for their services.