Attachment H Guidelines for Audiocassette









Recording printed material onto audiocassette tape for a person who is blind or who has a learning disability can be done in-house by staff with some general guidance.


Selecting a Reader and Location


Search for a “good reader” among your staff and volunteers. A good reader reads printed material aloud with accuracy, clarity, fluency, interest and “sense.” A good reader is not simply a good speaker. Reading aloud and speaking are often two different things.


The reader who records an audiocassette tape should have a smooth, non-monotonous reading voice. Reading at a fast pace is preferable to a slow pace. A reader should read only as long as he or she is comfortable without losing pace or weakening voice. The reader should select a quiet location which minimizes background noise. Phones, music, voices, animal sounds, machinery noise, or street traffic can be extremely distracting to a person listening to the tape. You can expect that it will take you two hours to record a one-hour tape, given pauses and proof listening.


Selecting Tapes and a Machine for Highest Quality


A tape recorder with adjustable speed and tone indexing is preferable. Most people who are blind or visually impaired are able to listen to a tape recorded at regular speed at a faster pace without compromising their understanding of the content. Tape recorders should be plugged in while recording, as battery levels may vary and can distort the quality of your recording. You should use tapes of sixty or ninty minutes duration, as lengthier tapes have a higher probability of jamming when winding and rewinding.


Identifying the Tapes


Tapes should be identified audibly, in writing, and in Braille, if possible. The first tape should provide information on the title, author, reference, date of publication, and date of the reading, but this need not be repeated on each subsequent tape. Providing the name of the voice reader is a courtesy, and informs the listener to become familiar with a voice so that, if subsequent tapings are to be done, the listener may request a specific reader who is clear and easy to understand (i.e., This is “The History of Music”, authored by John Doe, dated September 1979, read by Jane Smith on October 1, 1993).


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Disability and Communication Access Board


Each subsequent tape should begin with an announcement of the name of the document and the cassette number and side A or B of the tape (i.e., This is “The History of Music,” cassette number 2, side B) . This will alert the listener to the fact that she or he should have already heard two previous sides of tapes before beginning this tape. When ending each side of a tape, a notation should be made ( i.e., This is the end cassette number 2, side B of “The History of Music”). When the document is completely finished, this should also be announced (i.e., This is the end of the recording of “The History of Music”).


Reading the Text


The reader should briefly read the text before taping to become familiar with terms and words. Uncommon words and pronunciations should be looked up prior to taping so that the recording voice is smooth and uninterrupted.


The text should be read as written, even with apparent errors. All the information in a document should be read, including footnotes, bibliographies, cartoons, diagrams, and charts. The reader should note the presence of quotations (“begin quote” and “end quote” respectively), italicized words (“begin italics” and “end italics” respectively), parentheses (“begin paren” and “end paren” respectively), or footnotes (“footnote one”). Footnotes should be recorded at the end of a chapter or other convenient break point, so as not to interrupt the text. Page numbers of the document should be read when they occur.


A reader’s note may be inserted if needed to clarify a point from the reader to the listener. (“Reader’s note: The footnotes to this chapter will be read at the end of the chapter. End of note, return to text” or “Reader’s note:Table A is being read in French. There is no English translation provided. End of note, return to text”).


Reading cartoons, diagrams, and charts requires descriptive reading skills. Scientific or medical documents are often very complex to read, especially if they contain illustrations. Because descriptive reading is an acquired skill, if your document has a lot of pictures, diagrams, charts, etc. to read, you should consider contracting out the document to a professional reader.


The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped may be able to refer you to a reader if you do not have anyone in your office able to do so, or if the material requires complex or descriptive reading skills. If you need to hire a reader on a fee-for-service basis, the next two pages, ATTACHMENT H-1 , provide a sample purchase order for reader services, as well as a sample invoice from a free-lance reader billing for services. (Please note that the hourly rate indicated on the invoice is for illustrative purposes only and not intended to reflect a recommended billing rate.)


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Disability and Communication Access Board





Example of a State purchase order for reader services





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        Disability and Communication Access Board



ATTACHMENT H-1 (continued)


      Carol Lanai
      dba Talk Story
      850 Maui Avenue
      Honolulu, HI 96800    





December 15, xxxx


        Department of Protocol
        Accounts Receivable
        1234 Kona Street
        Honolulu, HI 96813


For Services rendered during the month of December xxxx yo provide reader services for communication access to individuals who are blind or visually impaired to access the Department of Protocol programs.


















December 5, xxxx 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 4 hours $20.00
December 9, xxxx 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 2 hours $10.00
December 10, xxxx 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 4 hours $20.00
  TOTAL   $50.00

Please send the payment to the address listed above.



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    Disability and Communication Access Board