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Foreign Language Materials


This page, developed by the Foreign Language Librarian of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), describes non-English audio and braille materials produced and offered by NLS, by NLS cooperating libraries, and by other organizations, foreign and domestic. Instructions on how to search the NLS Voyager catalog and the internet to locate audio and braille foreign language materials are provided, as well as links to sixty-four language-specific referral documents.


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Spanish audio and braille books produced by NLS. NLS produces audio (RC) and braille (BR) books in Spanish and distributes them through NLS cooperating libraries just as English language books are produced and distributed. These books are announced in the NLS bimonthly magazines Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review and in the annual cumulations of these magazines. Links to these and other publications listing Spanish language books are accessible from the home page of the NLS web site, www.loc.gov/nls.

Foreign language audio magazines offered by NLS. NLS provides foreign language audio magazines in Spanish, French, and German, as indicated below. These magazines are available through NLS cooperating libraries.

Special Foreign Language Collection. NLS acquires audiobooks (RCF) and braille books (BRF) in many foreign languages from various domestic and foreign producers. These materials are placed in the NLS Special Foreign Language Collection that is housed at the NLS Multistate Center East. They may be borrowed through cooperating libraries on interlibrary loan from the Multistate Center East. An older collection of audio materials on 33 rpm discs (RDF) is also available from this collection. Titles have limited quantities, and a reserve process is used when loan requests are greater than the number of copies available to circulate.

Foreign language materials produced by cooperating libraries and other cooperating institutions. Some NLS cooperating libraries and institutions such as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the Jewish Braille Institute, produce foreign language materials that are generally available on loan. These materials are listed in the NLS International Union Catalog.

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Search the NLS International Union Catalog for foreign language titles. All foreign-language titles in the NLS collections and in the collections of cooperating libraries and institutions are listed in the NLS International Union Catalog. This catalog can be accessed online from the NLS home page. To find foreign language materials in the NLS International Union Catalog, follow these steps:

  1. At the top of this page, click on the "Search the Catalog" link, and on the "Catalog Quick Search" screen, click on the "Voyager Interface" option. This takes you to the "Voyager Basic Search" screen. (You can also access this screen from the NLS Home page by scrolling down and clicking on the "Voyager search of the online catalog" link.)
  2. Click the "Set Search Limits" button. This takes you to the "Set Search Limits" screen. On this screen, select the language you wish to search and any other limits. For example, if you wish to find Russian audiobooks in the NLS collections, select "Russian" from the language list, then select "Talking Books" and "NLS (all collections)" from the other lists. When this is complete, click the "Set Search Limits" button. This will return you to the "Voyager Basic Search" screen. (The limits will remain in effect until you click the "Reset" or “Clear Search Limits” button.)
  3. On the "Voyager Basic Search" screen, select "Keyword" as the type of search and type your search text, in quotes, in the search box, and click the "Begin Search" button. To get all the possible titles, type the language in the search box. (For example, if you enter "Russian language" in the search box, you will get a listing of about 500 titles.)

Internet resources. There are many nonprofit agencies for the blind and commercial audiobook companies that produce recorded and braille materials in many different languages. Initially, a good way to learn what is available is to simply type in text such as "Russian audiobooks" or similar phrases in your Internet search engine or in www.google.com. This is a good way to check out many sources of literature and language-learning courses in many languages. Additional internet resources can be accessed using appropriate browser search terms in your target language, such as "audioknigi" for "Russian audio books."

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The following web pages are sources of foreign materials and resources:

*Note: Web pages are often changed or moved. If you cannot access a web site following the URL, try typing the name of the web site in your browser search engine to get the most recent URL.

Foreign language referral lists. In addition to the resources given above, NLS maintains referral lists by language that cite sources of foreign language audio and braille materials. Click on a language below to get the referral list for that language.

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Foreign Language Referral List
Afrikaans Kurdish
Amharic Laotian
Arabic Latin
Armenian Latvian
Bengali Lithuanian
Bulgarian Malay
Cambodian Navajo
Catalan Nepali
Cherokee Norwegian
Chinese Old English
Choctaw Passamaquoddy
Czech Polish
Danish Portuguese
Dutch Punjabi
ESL Romanian
Esperanto Russian
Estonian Sanskrit
Farsi Serbo-Croatian
Finnish Slovak
French Slovenian
German Spanish
Greek Swahili
Gujarati Swedish
Hausa Tagalog
Hebrew Tamil
Hindi Telugu
Hmong Turkish
Hungarian Ukrainian
Irish Urdu
Italian Vietnamese
Japanese Welsh
Kiowa Yiddish

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Posted on 2011-05-26