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Call For Help With Hawaiian Braille!

Aloha kākou. Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, our College of Hawaiian Language at UH-Hilo, is having a new building constructed on the UH-Hilo campus. Some of the foundations and concrete columns are already done, and we are anticipating the building’s completion in December of next year. We are having one issue that I would like to get out there and seek some advice and/or help.

As our college functions in Hawaiian, we are very picky about language use in the new building. Most of the office and other signs in the complex will be either Hawaiian-only or perhaps Hawaiian and English, with the Hawaiian being larger in size and prominence. What we are having issue with is the Braille. We want the signs to have Hawaiian in Braille, and include the ‘okina and kahakō. The sub-contractor handling the signs says he cannot manufacture the Braille signs with the diacritic marks, even though they are in the IPA Braille spec. We’ve made numerous inquiries, and cannot find a Braille sign manufacturer that can do this. We need help in finding someone who can make these signs for us. To be clear, these are the hard plastic signs that are found outside of each office and in other areas of the building.

According to the IPA Braille spec, these are the two characters we need for the ‘okina and kahakō:

If there is anyone out there that knows anything about making signage in Braille, or knows someone who might know something about them, please contact me. We can find no prior use of these diacritics in Hawaiian in Braille, but like much of the work we’ve done with technology, we hope that we can blaze a trail for the use of Hawaiian in Braille. Mahalo.

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