EBU Pharmacetical Braille European Union Flag

Table Designator


This is the technical description of a DBT Translation table. If you want more general information about languages and template choices, please see the list of templates.

Initially, the language table for braille translation is determined by the selected template, and may be changed using the Document / Translation Tables menu. Using those menus does not require use of the table designator. However, to switch to a different translation table partway through a file, one must enter a DBT code and the designator for the table to switch to. For switching secondary languages within a base language table, see the [lng~X] command. For switching from one base language to another, see the [lnb~...] command.

Functional Summary

The European Braille Union (EBU) Pharmaceutical tables support translation of text to braille according to the specifications of the European Blind Union (EBU) as published in October 2005.

Special Requirements and Limitations

The EBU Pharmaceutical specifications ("Basic Chart of Braille Signs," developed by the EBU in October 2005 and subsequently published at http://www.mhra.gov.uk) include provisions only for characters normally found in the labeling of pharmaceuticals. Certain characters commonly found in ordinary literary text, such as the exclamation mark (!), are not included in the specifications and so are not supported. Characters not in the specifications will generally result in the word "error", between braille parentheses, appearing at the corresponding position in the braille output.

Secondary Languages Supported

No secondary languages are supported.

However, it is possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT. (See the [lnb~...] code below.)

Technical Braille Codes Supported

No technical braille codes are supported.

However, it is possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT (see the [lnb~...]code below), many of which do support various technical codes, such as for mathematics or computer notation, or which support “unified” treatment of technical notation as well as literary text in the base language associated with the table.

Supported DBT Translation Codes

The following DBT translation codes are available when using the EBU Pharmaceutical table. Any other translation codes used will be ignored, or indeed may cause unexpected results. If using an alternative translation table, i.e when switching to another base language table by means of the[lnb~...] code, please refer to the relevant topic and available codes for that table.


[fte~...] -- all typeforms are ignored

[fts~...] -- all typeforms are ignored


[lnb~...] (for switching to another base [primary] language table)



[tne] -- treated as parenthesis

[tns] -- treated as parenthesis


Characters Supported

The table is designed to work with the characters specifically mentioned in the EBU Pharmaceutical specification, as described above, namely:

The Latin letters a-z (ignoring case).

Some common accented Latin letters (which will result in dot 4 preceding the letter in braille). (Not all possible accent combinations are supported.)

Digits 0-9.

Space; open and close round parentheses; comma (,); semicolon (;); colon (:); full stop/abbreviation point/decimal point (.); oblique stroke (/); hyphen (-); dash (--); percent (%).

British pound, Japanese yen, and dollar signs.

The Greek letter mu (used as a prefix meaning "micro").

References, History and Credits

The earliest support for EBU Pharmaceutical braille was as a special "variant" mode with the English/British tables, in September 2007. A separate table was developed by Duxbury Systems in February 2008, based upon the published sources mentioned above and with technical advice from George Bell of Techno-Vision Systems Ltd. in the U.K.

(Documentation reviewed: July 2010.)