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Table Designator: qbi

A translation table is a module in DBT that provides the rules to convert (translate) a document from print-to-braille or from braille-to-print. Normally, it is selected by the DBT template that controls production of the current document. All documents have a template. In fact, for many languages there are multiple templates, with differences in translation rules or formatting, but each references at least one translation table. (For more on templates, see DBT Templates, the Basics.)

Regardless of your template, you can choose a different translation table to translate your current document using the Translation Table selection from the DBT Document Menu.

You can also select different translation tables to use for particular passages in your document. See the section below on Language Table Switching.


The Biblical Original Language Studies tables support print-to-braille translation of Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Arabic languages, as well as English, European languages, and Russian, in a manner designed to support the needs of braille-reading biblical scholars.

Translation from braille-to-print is supported for this language.

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: qbi identifies this translation table for Language Table Switching.

Braille Contractions: In this complex of languages, only the English is produced in contracted braille. All the other languages are uncontracted, which means that the letters of each word are rendered into braille on a one-for-one basis.

Capital Sign: For the script systems that use capitalization, the Biblical Original Languages table uses dot 6 as the capital sign. However, it uses dots 46 for capitalization in Greek.

Emphasis: The Biblical Languages translator converts all forms of emphasis in inkprint (bold, italics, script, and underlining) into braille using the same indicators as English UEB.

Mathematical Braille: With this table and template you can access the UEB braille mathematics translator.

Script Systems Used: The Biblical Languages translator integrates parts of many Duxbury translators. This translator, and the Semitic Languages translator (see: Sister Tables, below), are unique in their support for the Syriac and Coptic scripts.

The translator handles the following languages and scripts. For most of them, the starting point of their character set in Unicode is indicated in square brackets: 

Sister Tables

The Semitic Language Transcription table is based on the Biblical Original Language Studies table, but is expressly designed to handle the Romanization of Semitic languages, including the incorporation of the diacritical marks used to indicate the pronunciation. This facilitates the handling of Cuneiform-based languages, such as: Akkadian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hattic, Hittite, Hurrian, Luwian, Sumerian, Urartian, Old Persian, Ugaritic, Old Babylonian, and Ancient Egyptian.

Importing Text Files

The best results come from importing your texts into DBT from Word or Open Office files that use Unicode fonts. When you open (import) your file, select the DBT template, Biblical Original Language Studies.

You can translate your file immediately using the biblical translator, but we recommend that you save the Duxbury Print file (.dxp) first, so that you have it for reference and as a backup. (Also, see the Biblical Original Language Studies introductory page regarding DBT codes to enter before translation in order to control the Critical Apparatus mode.)

Additional Information about Biblical Language Studies

Several unique features and references are included in the introductory topic for Biblical Original Language Studies. See that topic for information on the subjects below.

Translation Modes (DBT Codes which Change the Mode of Translation)

A number of DBT codes affect the mode of the translation or create special translation effects on specific letters or symbols. Some translation modes are specific to particular translator tables.

This braille translator is built on a foundation of English UEB. It supports all of the translation modes found in English UEB. In particular:

[vrn~ca] turns on the Critical Apparatus mode.

[vrn] (without any parameter) turns off the variation code, or codes, currently in effect, such as the Critical Apparatus mode.

[vrn~liy] turn on the inclusion of script indicators in the braille.

[vrn~lin] turn off the inclusion of script indicators in the braille.

For more about DBT codes that affect the mode of translation, search on the two words, "translation code", in the topic, DBT Codes Quick Reference.

Language Table Switching

No special language switching is needed to go from script to script for the languages in the Biblical Original Languages group listed above. This single table handles them all. However, the Duxbury tools for language switching to additional tables are also fully supported.

You can find the general explanation of Language Table Switching, the DBT lnb code and relevant details, in most of the language table topics, such as the English (UEB) Translator.

References, History, and Credits

The earliest versions of this table were created in 2014 by integrating the translation tables for English (UEB) with the Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew tables. Subsequently, a table for Syriac and Coptic was added based on the work of the committee (alphabetically listed) below.

The committee members acknowledge the role of Matthew Yeater for initiating this work when he needed a braille translation table specially crafted to handle "Critical Apparatus" (Nestle-Aland) notation. (Matthew Yeater consulted others and developed the preferred braille code for rendering these symbols.) Likewise, the committee wishes to thank Duxbury Systems for their help in producing this tool for the blind biblical scholar.

The handling of Roman script text follows the specifications of Unified English Braille (UEB) that was developed by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) from 1992 to 2004 and that has been maintained by that body since then.

Development continues on this table. Those wishing to participate should contact