German German Flag

Table Designator: deu

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 German tables support print-to-braille translation of German-language literary text into fully contracted braille ("Kurzschrift"), elementary contracted braille ("Vollschrift"), or uncontracted braille ("Basisschrift").

In braille-to-print translation, only the eight "Vollschrift" contractions are supported. For that reason, braille-to-print translation of grade 2 German (including the "translated line" when viewing grade 2 German braille) is not generally useful.

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: deu 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: German uses dots 46 as the capital sign.

Emphasis: The German translator converts all forms of emphasis in inkprint (bold, italics, and underlining) to a single braille emphasis marker, dots 456.

Mathematical Braille: If you use the recommended DBT template with this translator table, you can access the German Braille mathematics translator using the math style.

Script Systems Used: The German translator handles Roman characters, and a wide variety of symbols and punctuation marks.

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 (uncontracted) braille ("Basisschrift").

[g1L] switches to grade 1 (uncontracted, "Basisschrift") braille and "locks" that setting.

[g1u] undoes the "locking" effect of a prior [g1L], while leaving the contraction level as grade 1 (uncontracted, Basisschrift) braille.

[g1.5] switches to grade 1.5 (simply contracted) braille ("Vollschrift").

[g1.5L] switches to grade 1.5 (simply contracted, "Vollschrift") braille and "locks" that setting.

[g1.5u] undoes the "locking" effect of a prior [g1.5L], while leaving the contraction grade as grade 1.5 (simply contracted, "Vollschrift") braille.

[g2] switches to grade 2 (fully contracted) braille ("Kurzschrift"), which is normally in effect unless a prior code has caused a switch to grade 1 or grade 1.5.

[g2L] switches to "grade 2" (fully contracted, "Kurtzschrift") braille and "locks" that setting.

[g2u] undoes the "locking" effect of a prior [g2L], while leaving the contraction grade as grade 2 (fully contracted, "Kurtzschrift") 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

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 developed these tables starting in January 2005, based upon earlier tables for uncontracted German and the information regarding contractions in "German Grade 2" by Vivian Aldridge, Basel, Switzerland (May 2002), translated and edited by J. A. Iriogbe, and other helpful information from Mr. Iriogbe.

Duxbury is likewise grateful for further information provided by Mr. Stefan Albertshauser.

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: