As promised last week, here is the first instalment of the behind the scenes, shots illustrating what happens in the book transcription and development department of Access2books.
This is where all the magic occurs and accessible books come together.
This is not a snapshot of the entire production process but a slice of one of the first stages of the development of our books, taking a mainstream book and transforming it into an alternative format that can be accessed by people who happen to be blind or have a visual impairment.
As you can see in the photo below, Elvira Naidoo, our illustrator extraordinaire is working on the front pages, or inner pages of the books and starting to transcribe the book, typing in the text of the narrative in 75 point print, what we normally refer to as giant print.
In the shot above, Elvira breaks the book down and the formatting begins. Here, she enters text on the left hand side of the document and leaves the right hand side blank because this is where the pictures and Braille picture descriptions will go at a later stage.
Moment of contemplation and creative conceptualisation. What next? Elvira thinks, pondering how she should execute the next step in formatting this accessible book.
The picture above captures Elvira lost deep in thought thinking about how she is going to break down the scanned page on screen and adapt it to fit into our format.
There are no hard and fast rules in making accessible books. There are big and small challenges from start to beginning but this is what makes Elvira tick as her creative juices kick in and she always finds a way around every challenge she encounters.
The toughest challenge is breaking the mainstream book down into an alternative book: it involves reformatting the book, breaking down the text and adapting the pictures to make them more accessible but remaining true to the spirit of the narrative in the process.
Only a storyteller like Elvira can explain how she does that.
Above, Elvira looks at more scanned pages before she begins work on them to make them more accessible to readers who happen to have a visual impairment.
Elvira using the magic wand in her hands to conjure up the magic that transforms an image and enhances it to make it more visible to someone who happens to be visually impaired and would have problems accessing the image in a normal book.
Elvira has been making accessible books for about and a year and a half now. She has made a lot of books. She believes that she has made about twenty plus books but that is a conservative approximation.
While she is working, Elvira enjoys copious cups of coffee and chatting to keep her creative juices flowing. Here she is reminiscing about the good old times and trying to remember how many books she has made but they all seem to be a blur in her mind’s eye because she has made so many she has lost count.
The truth is that she has truly lost count of the number of books of she has made. Chances are, if you are reading an Access2books giant print and Braille children’s book, it was Elvira who put that together.
One of the first book’s she worked on when she started was Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell by Sue Hendra. She has since worked on Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Giraffes Can’t Dance, the entire Festival Time Series, Each Peach Pear Plum and many others on our website.
Smile of satisfaction. We can tell who is winning here. She is in full flow and enjoying what she does best.
The smile above says it all. All’s well that ends well.