Language Switching

Built-in Language Switching

Some DBT templates/translators have surprising properties. The biblical languages translator handles the text as UEB English, ancient Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Syrillic. (These languages are all grade 1; except UEB, which is grade 2.) Let's say you have a document in a mixture of Russian and English. You try UEB, and the Russian is a garbled mess. You try Russian, but the English is uncontracted. You call tech support, and they recommend the biblical languages translator, of all things. And it works. Be aware that you get capitalization, punctuation, and emphasis in UEB for the whole document.

You can use the same trick to combine grade 1 Arabic and grade 2 English.

The best way to combine Hebrew with grade 2 English is to use the Hebrew/American translator.

Duxbury Systems has found that it is easy to add a grade 1 Arabic translator to other translators. A grade 1 Arabiv translator is found in:

The Albanian and Bulgarian translators can handle Greek script.

All translators for non-Roman scripts can handle Roman script characters. As noted above, only the biblical languages and Hebrew/American produce UEB grade 2 from Roman script text.

Language Switching by Style (Basic Templates)

When producing foreign braille segments intended for English-speaking countries, one should actually select an English UEB template and follow these instructions.

This section is about templates that have the following properties:

This is almost all DBT templates except those for English, French, Irish, and Norwegian.

Each of these templates contains 11 styles for table switching:

To help locate the style quickly, you can press the first letter of the style name right after pressing F8. For example, to style a sentence as Russian, highlight the sentence, press F8 and then R. Then hold the down arrow until you can select Russian, by pressing <Enter>.

The IPA style invokes the IPA translator, which is an international braille standard. Passages in IPA are the phonetic encoding of how a word or phrase is pronounced - regardless of the meaning the word might have in a particular language. IPA is purely about pronunciation.

All of the other language styles cause the braille to be translated the way it would be done in the home country. For example, Spanish produces Spanish braille as it is done in Spain, French as it is done in France, etc. We recommend that you experiment with the language styles to make sure you understand what they do.

You can also create your own styles to make use of other braille translators or contraction modes. The underlying mechanism of these 11 styles is table switching, see below. Learn more about table switching and creating styles to meet your needs.

Table Switching

DBT has a marvelous feature called table switching. It lets you switch braille translation tables. If you are preparing a file in Russian, but need to deal with paragraph in Spanish, you can use table switching.

You should only use table switching in English-speaking countries if your intention is to make braille in the exact manner that it is in the respective country. For example, to make French braille exactly as is made in Paris. In the context of UKAAF or BANA, this is called method/category 3.

The template you selected to create your document determines the base (default) translation table. You can see which table is active by opening the Document menu, clicking Translation Tables, and viewing which table is checked. (You may have to select your region first to see the list of translation tables.)

The code [lnb~X] switches the base translation table from the current active table to the one corresponding to the designator X.

When an [lnb~X] code is encountered within a file, the effect is to change to a new table that controls translation until another [lnb~X] or plain [lnb] code is encountered. If there is no such code, that table continues until the end of the file.

A plain [lnb] code causes a switch back to the translation table that was in effect just prior to the most recent [lnb~X] that has not already been terminated by a balancing [lnb]. In other words, the pair [lnb~X] ... [lnb] can be used to enclose text that is to be processed using table X within a larger body of text that is otherwise processed by some other table, and such pairs can be "nested".

As an example, suppose we have a file that was created using the Spanish template and that the file contains the following sequence of text and codes:

... text a ... [lnb~eng-xueb] ... text b ... [lnb~qip] ... text c ... lnb] ... text d ... [lnb] ... text e

In this file we would expect text segments a and e to be processed using the Spanish table, segments b and d to be processed using the English (UEB) table, and segment c to be processed using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) table.

When any table switch occurs, whether by [lnb~X] or [lnb], the effects of any persistent translation codes, such as grade switches or technical notation declarations, are terminated. The default states for the table that takes control after the [lnb~X] or [lnb] are put into effect, even if those states were altered when that same table was in control for some earlier segment in the document.

Note that some of the default states for the base translation table may have been altered by the "initial" style, and that the "initial" style is implicitly invoked only at the very beginning of the file. For this and other reasons, it is usually advisable to use [lnb~X] ... [lnb] within suitably constructed styles rather than as direct codes.

Finally, it is important not to confuse [lnb~...] with [lng~...]. The latter is for switching to "secondary languages" that are supported within the same base translation table. A base translation table typically employs the translation rules defined by a particular national or regional authority. For example, the English BANA tables employ the rules defined by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). BANA has its own rules for putting French text into braille that make sense for English-speaking American students of French, but those rules are different from the braille rules that are customary in France itself. If you have French text that you want processed according to BANA, then you want one of the English (BANA) tables to be in control and would use [lng~fra] to select French as a "secondary" language. If, on the other hand, you have French text that you want put into braille according to French rules, then you want the French table to be in control.

You can find the table designator codes, alphabetically by language name, by following the link below. Note that the first three letters of the table designator correspond to the ISO 639-3 language code, where appropriate. In some cases, a hyphen and additional letter(s) serve to distinguish tables for different codes serving the same language, or historical codes that remain temporarily available for compatibility purposes.

Click here for the full list of languages in alphabetical order, complete with table designators.