Archive for April, 2009

Resala Typing Day

April 5, 2009

Yesterday was the first Typing Day ever at Resala Nasr City. While sighted people can easily open a printed book and start reading it, the blind need the book to be printed in¬†braille in order for them to be able to read it. While OCR software has gone a long way in converting printed text into computer readable text after scanning, yet most OCR software for the Arabic language have still a long way to go and produce a high error rate. The solution was to use ‘human’ OCR, a group of volunteers doing the typing of the printed books in order to be computer readable. The books then can easily be printed in braille for the blind to read or simply read on the computer using text-to-speech software.

The Nasr City branch of Resala came up with a creative idea which is to designate the first Saturday of each month and call it the typing day during which volunteers flock to Resala Nasr City from 1 pm to 9 pm and start collaborating on typing books for the blind. A nice twist on the monthly event that started only yesterday was to keep life track of how many pages each volunteer has written. This made the day the more exciting having volunteers competing for the highest number of pages being written.

Although I did not score highest in terms of number of pages typed, yet I really enjoyed the day. The nice thing for me also was that there was someone dictating me which made the process for me way easier. Actually five different people alternated dictating me one after the other. It was a fun and useful day. I can’t wait till next month when the second typing day is held.

For more information about the event check out the Facebook group for the Resala Typing Day.