RNIB Transcription

The RNIB and University of Leeds Transcription Centre was established over 20 years ago and specialises in academic transcription. The centre is managed by a team of experienced staff members supported by dedicated volunteers.

Who can use the RNIB & University of Leeds Transcription Centre?

Staff at the University of Leeds who are blind or partially-sighted – or who require transcription services for other disability-related reasons – can use the services provided by the Centre.

In most cases, staff members will be asked to apply for funding for these services from the government’s Access to Work scheme.  If you are a staff member at the University of Leeds, you are welcome to contact the Transcription Centre to find out more about what we do.

The RNIB & University of Leeds Transcription Centre also carries out transcription work for schools and services across the University.  If, for example, you receive a request from an applicant or student for a copy of a module handbook or leaflet that your school or service has produced, the Transcription Centre can provide this service.  You are welcome to contact the centre to enquire about rates and timescales for such work.  To request transcription internally within the University of Leeds, please use our transcription request form.

The RNIB & University of Leeds Transcription Centre also provides transcription services for external organisations, particularly:

  • Schools
  • Colleges of further and higher education
  • Universities
  • Other public, private and voluntary sector organisations  – particularly those working in the field of education and training

If you are an external organisation and wish to use the Centre’s services, you can download a copy of our price list and guidelines for requesting transcription work.  If you would like to discuss your transcription requirements, please contact the Centre.

What is transcription?

Transcription is the process of converting printed information into a range of accessible formats for those who are unable, or find it difficult, to read standard text. These formats include braille, e-text, large print, digital audio and tactile diagrams.

Why do you need transcription?

Schools, colleges, universities and other training providers have a duty under the Equality Act (EA) to make “reasonable adjustments” to ensure equal access. Providing information in accessible formats is key to removing barriers and delivering a fully inclusive educational experience.

Why choose us?

As an integral part of the University of Leeds, we have been able to develop a team of volunteers with highly specialised academic backgrounds. This means that the Centre has extensive experience of working with complex and technical educational material – from pre-16 to postgraduate level. Our particular strength lies in the long-standing collaboration with the RNIB. This ensures we have up-to-date information about production techniques and are able to make use of RNIB’s National Library Service of accessible material.  When you are choosing a transcription provider, you need to make sure that you are mindful of the quality and accuracy of the work, as well as price.

What are the formats we can produce?


There are two types of braille. Uncontracted braille is letter by letter translation and can be read by all braille readers. Contracted braille includes special signs for combinations of letters, which speeds up reading and reduces the space used. We can produce braille of either type, printed single-sided or double-sided on A4 or standard-size braille paper.


This is text prepared in an electronic format compatible with screen reading software for people using braille displays or synthesized speech.

Large print

This refers to material that is printed in a variety of type sizes. Generally, large print ranges from 16 point to much larger font sizes. We take into consideration individual preferences for type size, paper colour and typeface, although we recommend Arial font. We can supply this in hard copy or electronically for use with screen magnification software.

Tactile Diagrams

Tactile diagrams are produced by printing a simplified version of an image onto heat-sensitive “swell” paper. This format makes images accessible using a combination of raised lines, shapes and textures. They can also incorporate labels in braille.

Digital Audio

We can produce two types of digital audio:

  • DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System): This format has a digital structure enabling navigation to headings and pages, making it ideal for more complex material such as textbooks. It provides a recording of up to 25 hours on one CD. A specialised player or software is required.
  • CDDA (Computer Disk Digital Audio): CDDA recordings are separated into tracks, making this format ideal for shorter and simpler documents. A recording of approximately one hour will fit on one CD, which will play on any standard CD player.

Other services available

These include:

  • Photocopying (internal students only)
  • Typing hand-written lecture notes (internal students only)
  • Transcribing braille back into print
  • Providing training to faculties/services on transcription provision
  • Proof reading only
  • Scanning only

What is our “Partner Organisation Scheme”?

Our “Partner Organisation Scheme is open to any school, college or university.  For an annual membership fee, the scheme entitles an organisation to:

  • Discounted rates for transcription work
  • Membership of the RNIB National Library Service
  • A named contact within the Centre to offer advice and information about transcription.

By publicising the fact that you have joined the scheme, you will be sending out a message to blind and partially-sighted people who are thinking about studying at your institution that you are geared up to meet their academic requirements.  For more information about the scheme, contact the Centre.

Contacting the Centre

To arrange a visit, or for more information, please contact Vibi Rothnie, Transcription Centre Manager:

RNIB & University of Leeds Transcription Centre
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

Telephone: 0113 343 3928/3929
Email:  leedstrans@rnib.org.uk