engage magazine issue 005 \\\'07 - Page 38

38 BRAILLE TRANSLATIONS Regular Feature A DAY IN THE LIFE OF Ghow Ratnarajah A local businessman proves that disability does not have to hold anyone back. ince Braille Translations was set up in 2000 by Ghow Ratnarajah, it has become a thriving business, providing Braille translations, large print, audio recordings and additional consultative support to organisations and businesses nationwide. Ghow, originally from Sri Lanka, worked as a Braillist for the University of York when the idea of forming a company to provide Braille transcription services came to him. He knew there was a lot of potential in the business as there were a limited number of competitors and the demand for Braille work was good. Along with many other obstacles, Ghow who is blind, found the constant challenge for any disabled accessibility service such as his own was creating the awareness amongst the business and public. He said, “People do not normally recognise the gaping holes in any facility or system - in terms of disabled accessibility. “Another problem was that the hardware to produce Braille was quite expensive. I was working part-time and did not have enough savings for capital investment. I had to approach a lot of people and organisations to try and get some funding.” S The Prince’s Trust helped and guided Ghow in many ways to start and consolidate his business. Another organisation called PERA helped immensely with bright business ideas to build the business. Braille Translations has grown and now has five employees. Apart from one person all the staff are visually impaired. The most frequently commissioned work Ghow and his team carry out includes translating company business cards, restaurant menus and information guides into Braille. The company also produces invitations, talking greeting cards, entertainment listings, travel information and quality signs including fire exits, stairs or toilets. Braille Translations can offer premises’ accessibility reports, a website accessibility consultation service and disability awareness training for staff. A typical day at work involves taking orders via the Internet or telephone, order processing, cold calling, business meetings, audio recordings and proof reading Braille work. Ghow said, “As a blind person myself, I know the requirements of other blind and visually impaired people. I know exactly what their needs are. The feeling that I am doing something to help people like me drives me towards doing more for them.”