New vision for visually impaired readers

Updated: 2012-05-21 07:42

By Liu Wei in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China Daily)

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Reading for visually impaired people is never easy, but China Braille Publishing House is turning to a new technology to help.

The multimedia print reader enables one to hear the content of the book that's being read.

With a "talking pen" positioned over a book with MPR codes, the reader is able to hear the written text recited. Some MPR books also contain annotations and comments of the books' content, which is also audible.

Shenzhen MPR Ziwei Cultural and Educational Technology, a leader in the technology, released a collection of 120 children's ballads in Chinese and English during the eighth China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, which kicked off on May 18 and lasts four days.

China Braille Press will add Braille pages to the book to make it easier for visually challenged people, who can hear and touch the content.

Shi Xiaoyan, editor of the press, said that the book was chosen because of growing aspirations among visually impaired children to learn English. The book's child-friendly, bilingual content meets the need.

Also, its colorful illustrations serve children who can still see but only partially.

"The company has various publications for children. At this moment, it is more practical for us to choose from them and add Braille pages," she said.

The press will publish more than 100 volumes by June, when headmasters of 113 schools for visually impaired children across the country will have a meeting in Beijing.

The headmasters will take the books back to their schools and collect feedback from teachers and students for improvement ahead of a wider release.

China has about 13 million visually impaired people, who, as Shi noted, do not have adequate publications.

The press will further cooperate with MPR Ziwei to release more than 100 titles, focusing on books for visually challenged children from 5 to 13 years old, Shi said.

The books will soon be available in the China Braille Library in Beijing and its counterparts in provincial capital cities.

Zhang Wei, president of the press, remarked that the cooperation with MPR would help more visually challenged people gain better access to more diversified reading.

During an occasion on Sunday to mark the 22nd national day for helping the disabled, Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu called for more efforts to ensure the basic cultural rights of the country's disabled people.

Promoting cultural services for the disabled can help them to better develop and participate in social life, Hui said. He called on government departments and officials to improve the construction of the public cultural service system and cultural facilities for the disabled.