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A blind woman's talent for words

(China Daily)

09:15, May 23, 2012

Shi Ran's computer doesn't have a screen - she doesn't need it.

Neither does the 30-year-old proofreader need her stylish sunglasses - hip specs that make it difficult for most people to realize she's blind.

She moves her fingers along a keyboard-like Braille reading device, while her colleague reads paragraphs aloud at the Beijing-based China Braille Press (CBP).

The team translates Chinese characters into pinyin, and then pinyin into Braille. Proofreaders make sure no mistakes creep through.

"It's much more complicated than English Braille," Shi says.

"Chinese isn't written using an alphabet, and pauses in ancient prose are always confusing. And a regular book becomes several times thicker when being translated into Braille, so our proofreading speed is much slower than other presses'."

The 15 pairs of proofreaders can each crunch about 20,000 characters a day.

"Not everyone can do this job," CBP senior editor Huang Qiusheng says.

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