Hausa - Translator Table Nigerian Flag Flag of Niger

Table Designator: hau

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 Hausa tables support print-to-braille translation of Hausa-language literary text in grade 2 (contracted) or grade 1 (uncontracted) braille.

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

Key Characteristics

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

Braille Contractions: This language is usually produced in contracted braille, which means one should not expect a one-to-one correspondence between inkprint letters and braille cells. Instead, abbreviations (contractions) are used for many common words and letter sequences.

Capital Sign: Hausa uses dot 6 as the capital sign.

Emphasis: The Hausa translator converts all forms of emphasis in inkprint (bold, italics, and underlining) to a single braille emphasis marker, dots 46.

Mathematical Braille: This translator defaults to using the UEB braille mathematics translator by using the math style.

Script Systems Used: The Hausa translator handles Roman characters, and a wide variety of symbols and punctuation marks. (See the next section.)

Data Entry: Hausa Accent Marks

Hausa letters are basically from the Roman alphabet. In addition, the Hausa language employs accent marks (diacritical marks) that are quite similar to those in French and Spanish. For Hausa, these accent marks provide "tones" and the "hooked characters". 

Tones: Hausa vowels may be marked as high, middle, or low in tone by adding an acute accent, macron, or grave accent respectively. Often the middle tone is not marked explicitly, but it can be.

Hooks: Likewise some letters (b, d, k and y) may be "hooked" by the addition of the tilde to the base character.

Data Entry Options: Depending on the font, pre-composed Unicode characters may be available for the Hausa vowels with tones and hooked letters, and they may be entered directly when available. Some examples are the "e with acute accent (high tone)" (U+00E9), the "k with hook" (U+0199), and "y with hook" (U+01B4).

Alternatively, accent marks and hooks may be added to the ordinary base letter by entering the applicable "combining" Unicode mark immediately after the base letter. The combining marks are: U+0300 for combining grave accent (low tone), U+0301 for combining acute accent (high tone), U+0304 for combining macron (mid tone), and U+0303 ("combining tilde") to add a hook. In all instances any combining mark should follow the basic letter that it is modifying.

Note the preference for "combining tilde". The alternative, the U+0309, "combining hook above," is not used for this purpose because the "hook" produced by that method is too far above and the resulting combined character does not look like the desired Hausa character.

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.

[g1] switches to grade 1 as the "prevailing grade", but does not insert a grade 1 indicator.

[g2] resumes grade 2 as the prevailing grade, but does not insert a grade 2 indicator. (Grade 2 is the normal prevailing grade.)

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

DBT has translation tables for over 200 world languages. Modern versions of DBT allow using multiple language translation tables within a single document.

Suppose that you are working on a document using this base translation table, but it has passages in a foreign language, or that need a technical braille code. At the beginning of each such passage, insert the DBT code lnb, followed by ~ (tilde) and the table designator for the desired language table. (The table designator for each language table is listed in the Key Characteristics.) Note that using the lnb code you can change from the base table to virtually any other translation table and back again.

For some language tables, the table designator is short, like ise for Icelandic. Thus, to switch to Icelandic braille translation, insert [lnb~ise]. The table designators are more elaborate for mathematics code tables and for languages that have multiple translation tables. As an example, the designator for Unified French Braille is fra-xuf. To start a passage in the French Unified Braille code, insert [lnb~fra-xuf]. At the end of a foreign language passage, use the plain [lnb] code to switch back to the original, base, language translation table.

Some translation tables, and hence their table designators, are for braille codes but not for natural languages. Some examples are the International Phonetic Alphabet (designator: qip) and Nemeth Code (designator: qmt-xnem72m) for mathematics. Using lnb with those table designators allows you to switch to the IPA braille code or the Nemeth braille math code.

While a plain [lnb] code returns translation to the base language, it does not restore any other translation properties that might have been in effect before the switch. For example, if you had been using a [g1L] code (for "grade 1 lock") to prevent contractions, you need to repeat that code after the [lnb] code to restore that effect. Fortunately, you can build lnb codes into DBT styles, to customize what modes to enter and exit at the switch in and out of a translation table.

Note that DBT templates whose names contain the word "basic" all have a number of styles defined for switching between different translation tables. (For the list, see Basic Templates.)

References, History, and Credits

Duxbury Systems originally developed the Hausa translator beginning in May 2005. The Hausa tables were based upon information provided to Duxbury Systems by Mrs. Jean Obi. Pending further decisions regarding the representation of the hooked letters b, d, k, and y, they are translated as the base letter preceded by dot 4, following a suggestion by Mrs. Obi.

Updates and Errors

If you have information about changes in the braille rules for your language, please email Duxbury so that we may update our translation tables. Likewise, if you find errors in your translated document, in either the print-to-braille or braille-to-print direction, please contact us. To describe your problem, it is best to send both the *.dxp and *.dxb files along with a full explanation, because the correct braille is often a matter of very specific circumstances. Contact Duxbury at: