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Introduction

The 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.

Using the Translator

You get the best results from Microsoft Word files. Open your file with the DBT template called Bibilical original language studies. At this point you are good to go. You can translate your file using the biblical translator. But before you do, you may want to save the Duxbury Print file (*.dxp).

Using the Critical Analysis

Once you have a Duxbury *.dxp file that is set for the Biblical language studies braille translation table, you need to turn on the Critical Analysis mode in the translator. Do this by moving to the top of the Duxbury *.dxp file. press control-[ then vrn~ca then Enter. The control-[ opens a special window for entering a Duxbury code. A code that changes the mode of a translation table (that is unique to one or a few translation tables), starts with vrn then tilde. After the tilde are the letters "ca", this means we are turning on "critical analysis mode". The Enter closes the special window for entering the command. As an alternative, you can insert the string [[*vrn~ca*]] in a Word file. Upon file importation, DBT takes this as the DBT command vrn~ca (which is what we want).

What does this do? It adds a dots 46 before each Greek word, and adds a double dot 6 before each Hebrew letter. Note: updates to this table circulated informally now use dots 456 to indicate a Greek word.

If for some reason, you wanted to turn off this mode, repeat the above, but the command is just vrn without ~ca.

This table handles the 18 special characters use in the Nestle-Aland notation (found in U+2713-275A) using a braille table supplied by Matthew Yeater, who consulted others as to the preferred code for rendering these symbols.


Sample Files

To gather sample files, we used the website www.sacred-texts.com.

For a sample file of Syriac, see the Word file Syriac.docx.

For a sample file of very technical material in the Nestle-Aland notation, see the Word file Matthew.docx.

Unfortunately, the fonts in this file has not been presevered, so the specialized Nestle-Aland characters appear as dingbats. But the Matthew.docx file translates correctly into braille in DBT. This sample shows how technical the Nestle-Aland material can get. The opening line in the docx file automatically turns on vrn~ca to set the correct mode for braille.


Nestle-Aland Notaion

Here is one guide to the Nestle-Aland notation system.


Chart key for chart seen below:

U+2713[This sign marks the end of the 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+2715rThe 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+2716wThis sign marks the end of the replaced text, the counterpart to 2715.
U+2717iThis sign marks the location where one or more words, sometimes a whole verse, is inserted by the witnesses cited.
U+27189Centered 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+2741lxxReference to Septuagint. This symbol indicates that a variant suggests a parallel expression in the Septuagint text.
U+274DoThe (one) word following in the text is omitted by the witnesses cited.
U+274FoThe words, clauses, or sentences following in the text are omitted by the witnesses cited. Sign 2713 marks the end of the omitted text.
U+2750rThe (one) word following in the text is replaced with one or more words by the witnesses cited.
U+2751qCentered 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+2759tA 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+275AcA 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.
????----3We need some kind of Unicode for the dot.

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 superscripted numbers.


Hebrew Table

Letters

a alef
v beth without daggesh
b beth with daggesh
g gimmel
d dallet
h heh
w vav
z zayin
x chet
t tet
j yod
* kaf without daggesh
k kaf with daggesh
l lamed
m mem
n nun
s samek
$ ayin
f peh without daggesh
p peh with daggesh
! tzadi
qqof
rresh
&sin/shin with no dot
:sin with left dot
%shin with right dot
?tav without daggesh
\tav with daggesh

Vowels and other marks

"daggesh, placed before the letter. "g "z
^mapiq, placed before the letter. ^h
,rafe, placed before the letter. ,dl
-maqqef
'simple sheva
cpetach
3hatef petach
<qametz
>hatef qametz
esegol
5hatef segol
/tzere
#tzere-yod
ihiriq
9hiriq-yod
oholem
[holem-vav
uqibbutz
+shuriq
_line break in BHS (especially helpful in poetic sections)
6Mark above the line (rare)
;mark below the line (rare)

Accents simple Accents

`meteg/silluq
4sof pasuq
2atnach
1zaqef qaton

Advanced List -- Cantillation Marks

"Prepositive" means that the symbol is before the word, the first thing you see in the word. "Postpositive" means the symbol is after the word, the last thing you see in the word. Usually accents that don't have their position predetermined appear immediately after the vowel in the stressed syllabol. If doing this 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 syllabol, a qadma would be placed before the vowel as well so not to confuse it with postpositive pashta.

.aazla/geresh (megurash if prepositive)
.bgershayim
.ddarga
.gzaqef gadol
.7t'lisha gadolah
.iiluj
.jmahpakh (y'tiv when prepositive)
.kmerekha kephula
.lpaseq (legarma)
.mmerekha
.nqarnei para
.ooleh
.pqadma (pashta when postpositive)
.?pazer
.qt'lisha q'tanah
.rr'via
.ssegol
.%shalshelet
.ttiphcha/tarha (dehi when prepositive)
.umunach
.vt'vir
.yyareach ben-yomo
.ztzinor (zarqa when postpositive)

Examples
(mpublic reading merekha
)2private reading atnach
("public reading daggesh
),private reading rafe


Recent Work (September 2016)

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

Contact david@duxsys.com or caryn@duxsys.com to obtain recent updates to the Biblical Original Language Studies table.