English/Australian (pre-Unified) Australian 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 English/Australian (pre-UEB) tables support print-to-braille translation of English-language literary text, math and science, and computer notation, following the codes and customs of Australia as they were prior to the adoption of Unified English Braille (UEB) starting in 2004. These were essentially the same as in Great Britain as of that earlier time period, except that the code used for computer notation was similar to that used in North America.

Special Requirements and Limitations

True braille-to-print translation is supported within English text and Computer Braille Code, but not in languages other than English nor in mathematics. This means that any mathematics or foreign-language portions of a braille file will not translate correctly to print. It also means that the "translated line" will typically contain gibberish when the cursor is in mathematics or embedded foreign-language braille.

Secondary Languages Supported

Several other languages may be entered and treated as "in English context," using the [lng...] code to switch. For instance, [lng~fr] (or [lng~fra]) would introduce a French passage, which would be terminated, i.e. reverting to English, at [lng] (or [lng~en] or [lng~eng]). The available languages, together with their associated "lng" codes, are:

de (or deu) -- German

en (or eng) -- English

es (or esp) -- Spanish

fr (or fra) -- French

it (or ita) -- Italian

la (or lat) -- Latin

pt -- Portuguese

In German and French secondary language text, contractions as specified by the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK) will normally be used, as long as grade two is in effect. (Those contractions include some but not all of the contractions that would be used in the regular contracted braille for those languages.) The other languages are all transcribed in grade 1 regardless of the grade setting. That is, the [g1] and [g2] codes affect the English text and any German or French text, but not the other languages.

Note that in addition to the above-listed "secondary languages" supported within the English/Australian (pre-UEB) table itself, it is also possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT. (See the [lnb~...] code below.)

Technical Braille Codes Supported

The BAUK math and science code and the Braille Authority of North American (BANA) computer notation code, i.e. CBC, are supported. See the Topical How-To Guide (under "Help"), and other relevant documentation.

In addition, 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 English/Australian (pre-UEB) 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.


[ab] is equivalent to [g2]

[atx0] turns off the "all ASCII is literal" mode (see next code description), so that certain traditional "codes" typed in as direct text will continue to have effect. (For a list of these, see "Special Print Text Codes" within the "Codes Quick Reference" on DBT's Help menu.) This is presently the default (initial) condition, but as that is likely to change in future versions, it is advisable to put an [atx0] code at the beginning of any file in which the traditional in-text codes are used.

[atx1] turns on an "all ASCII is literal" mode, which will cause all ordinary printable ASCII characters to be considered as literal text, even those sequences that have traditionally been used as special "codes".



[bline] -- ignored.


[bsfe] can be used to end the name of a special math function (see [bsfs] below).

[bsfs] can be used to begin the name of a special math function, in the case of uncommon functions that are not directly recognized (most are recognized). For example, [bsfs]tr[bsfe](x) would cause the "tr" in "tr(x)" to be treated as a function name rather than the product of t and r.






















[e] -- presently ignored.

[ecane] -- presently ignored.

[ecans] -- presently ignored.

















[in] is equivalent to [g1]

[ixrtd0] -- is a special variant form of [ixrtd], to force "simple" treatment of the indexed root delimiter (no brackets).


[ixrte0] -- is a special variant form of [ixrte], to force "simple" treatment of the indexed root end (no brackets).




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


[lng~...] (see "Secondary Languages Supported," above)






[sqrte0] is a special variant form of [sqrte], to force "simple" treatment (no brackets) at a square root end.


[sqrts0] is a special variant form of [sqrts], to force "simple" treatment (no brackets) at a square root start.


[tce] -- is allowed but not necessary (ignored).

[tcs] -- is allowed but not necessary (ignored).

[te] cancels the effect of [ts], restoring normal text mode.

[ts] initiates "technical notation," i.e. "math mode".






[vrn] cancels the effect of [vrn~inf]

[vrn~inf]establishes "informal mode," wherein certain ASCII characters that are not defined in literary braille, and which are therefore normally represented as one or more words in braille (e.g. "greater-than" for ">"), are instead given informal but generally familiar representations (usually based upon the computer notation code). Note that the definition of this code may be changed or discontinued in future versions.

Characters Supported

The table is designed to work with the following groups of characters:

All ASCII printable characters

Accented characters and punctuation marks typical of French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese

British pound, Japanese yen, and other miscellaneous signs (DUSCI pages D+ec..., D+f5...)

Mathematical signs, shapes, etc. (DUSCI pages D+df..., D+e2..., D+f0..., D+f1...)

The above is a general guide only (see "General Notes" section at the beginning of this document).

References, History and Credits

(The British and Australian tables were the same until late 2001, hence the parallel history.)

These tables are based primarily upon the definitive manual for British literary braille usage, namely "British Braille --- A Restatement of Standard English Braille," a publication of the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK). The mathematics portions are based upon "Braille Mathematics Notation" (1989), also a BAUK publication.

The literary portions of the tables were developed in May 1978, by adapting the then-current version of the English/American tables. The work was done by Duxbury Systems, Inc., with feedback from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Sydney, Australia (then the Royal New South Wales Institute for Deaf and Blind Children), who were the first users of DBT to produce braille according to British practice.

Support for the American Computer Braille Code (CBC), as specified in "Code for Computer Braille Notation" (1987), a publication of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), was added in March 1988, at the same time that it was added to the American tables. That code has subsequently come into common use for representing computer notation in some countries that otherwise mostly follow British codes, such as Australia.

Support for the British math code was developed in 1999 and added to the released DBT in late 2000.

English/Australian tables were split from the British tables, because the latter were updated to support British Braille Computer Notation (BCN), replacing the support for CBC.

(Documentation reviewed: July 2010.)