Development of the Biblical Original Language Studies braille translator in Duxbury DBT was the subject of the first place Jacob Bolotin Award at the 2016 NFB Conference. Duxbury Systems is proud to have developed a braille translator that opens up the field of Biblical scholarship to braille readers.
The Biblical Original Language Studies braille translator blends together parts of many Duxbury translators. The support for some scripts (Syriac and Coptic) is only available in this translator. The translator handles the following different scripts:
No special language switching is needed to go from script to script. This single table handles them all.
You get the best results importing your texts into DBT from Microsoft Word files. When you open your file, select the DBT template, Bibilical original language studies. You can translate your file immediately using the biblical translator, but before you do, we recommend that you save the Duxbury Print file (.dxp).
Once you have a Duxbury .dxp file that is prepared for the Biblical original language studies braille translation table, you need to turn on the Critical Apparatus mode in the translator. Do this by placing the cursor at the top of the Duxbury *.dxp file. Press ctrl+[ (that is, hold down the Ctrl key while pressing the left square bracket), then enter the letters vrn~ca, then press the Enter key. The ctrl+[ opens the dialog for entering a Duxbury code. The vrn code changes the mode of a translation table. After the tilde, the letters ca turn on "critical apparatus mode". The Enter key closes the dialog for entering the command. As an alternative, you can insert the string [[*vrn~ca*]] at the top of the Word file. When imported, DBT interprets this string as the DBT command vrn~ca (which is what we want).
What does this do? It adds a braille cell of dots 456 before each Greek word, and adds a double dot 6 before each Hebrew letter.
If you want to turn off this mode, use ctrl+[ as above, but the command is just vrn without ~ca.
This translation mode handles the 18 special characters used in the Nestle-Aland notation (found in the Unicode range: U+2713-275A) using a braille table supplied by Matthew Yeater, who consulted others as to the preferred code for rendering these symbols.
To gather sample files, we used the website www.sacred-texts.com. We also placed the following two sample files on the Duxbury website.
For a sample file of Syriac, see the Word file Syriac.docx.
For a sample file of highly technical material in the Nestle-Aland notation, see the Word file Matthew.docx.
Unfortunately, the fonts in this file were not preserved, so the specialized Nestle-Aland characters appear as dingbats instead of in the forms illustrated below. But the Matthew.docx sample does translate correctly into braille in DBT. This sample displays how technical the Nestle-Aland material can get. The opening line in the docx file automatically turns on vrn~ca (critical apparatus mode) to set the correct mode for translation to braille.
The Nestle-Aland Notation uses the Libronix Apparatus font.
This external link is one guide to the Nestle-Aland Notation system.
Key for the chart of text-critical signs below:
|U+2713||✓||[||This sign marks the end of omitted text. Pairs with 274F.|
|U+2714||✔||(||See 2715. Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. The first such instance has no dot or superscript. The second has a dot. The third has a superscripted 1; the fourth, a superscripted 2; etc.|
|U+2715||✕||r||The words following in the text are replaced with other words by the witnesses cited. Sign 2716 marks the end of the replaced text. Frequently this involves the transposition of words. To the extent the words are identical with those in the text, they are indicated by italic numerals corresponding to their position in the printed text (cf. Mt 27,51).|
|U+2716||✖||w||This sign marks the end of the replaced text, the counterpart to 2715.|
|U+2717||✗||i||This sign marks the location where one or more words, sometimes a whole verse, is inserted by the witnesses cited.|
|U+2718||✘||9||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2717.|
|U+2719||✙||)||This sign marks the end of the replaced text, the counterpart to 2714.|
|U+2741||❁||lxx||Reference to Septuagint. This symbol indicates that a variant suggests a parallel expression in the Septuagint text.|
|U+274D||❍||o||The (one) word following in the text is omitted by the witnesses cited.|
|U+274F||❏||o||The words, clauses, or sentences following in the text are omitted by the witnesses cited. Sign 2713 marks the end of the omitted text.|
|U+2750||❐||r||The (one) word following in the text is replaced with one or more words by the witnesses cited.|
|U+2751||❑||q||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2750.|
|U+2758||❘||\||A solid vertical line separates the instances of variation from each other within a single verse or section of the apparatus.|
|U+2759||❙||t||A broken vertical line separates the various alternative readings from each other within a single instance of variation. These readings taken together comprise a group of readings, or a variation unit.|
|U+275A||❚||c||A raised colon indicates a variant form of punctuation.|
|U+2765||❥||>||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2766.|
|U+2766||❦||<||The words following in the text are transposed by the witnesses cited. Sign 2767 in the text marks the end of the portion of text transposed. The sequence of the transposed words is indicated when necessary by italic numerals corresponding to the position of the words in the printed text (cf. Mt 16,13).|
|U+2767||❧||:||This sign marks the end of the portion of text transposed. Corresponds to 2766.|
Separate Unicodes are assigned for some (2714, 2718, 2719, 2751, 2765), but 2767 can also appear with a dot. 2715, 2716, 2717, 2750, 2766, 2767, 274F, and 275A can also appear with superscript numbers.
|v||beth without daggesh|
|b||beth with daggesh|
|*||kaf without daggesh|
|k||kaf with daggesh|
|f||peh without daggesh|
|p||peh with daggesh|
|&||sin/shin with no dot|
|:||sin with left dot|
|%||shin with right dot|
|?||tav without daggesh|
|\||tav with daggesh|
|"||daggesh, placed before the letter. "g "z|
|^||mapiq, placed before the letter. ^h|
|,||rafe, placed before the letter. ,dl|
|_||line break in BHS (especially helpful in poetic sections)|
|6||Mark above the line (rare)|
|;||mark below the line (rare)|
You will see the terms "prepositive" and "postpositive" in the table below. "Prepositive" means that the symbol comes before the word (the first thing you see in the word). "Postpositive" means the symbol comes after the word (the last thing you see in the word).
Usually accents that do not have their position predetermined appear immediately after the vowel in the stressed syllable. However, if doing so would break up a contraction such as hiriq-yod, the accent is placed between the opening consonant and the vowel. In a word ending with a vowel where the stress is on the last syllable, a qadma would be placed before the vowel as well, so not to be confused with a postpositive pashta.
|.a||azla/geresh (megurash if prepositive)|
|.j||mahpakh (y'tiv when prepositive)|
|.p||qadma (pashta when postpositive)|
|.t||tiphcha/tarha (dehi when prepositive)|
|.z||tzinor (zarqa when postpositive)|
|(m||public reading merekha|
|)2||private reading atnach|
|("||public reading daggesh|
|),||private reading rafe|
If writing in braille, you can use the following chart to switch scripts.
|"(ar'||switch to Arabic|
|"(de'||switch to German|
|"(el'||switch to Greek|
|"(es'||switch to Spanish|
|"(fr'||switch to French|
|"(gr'||switch to Greek|
|"(he'||switch to Hebrew|
|"(ip'||switch to IPA|
|"(it'||switch to Italian|
|"(la'||switch to Latin|
|"(ru'||switch to Russian|
|"(sy'||switch to Syriac|
|,")||restore the base language|