English (American Textbook) Flag of the United States

Table Designator: eng-xnat

Advisory: This braille translator is obsolete. The governing braille authority has introduced a newer braille code that replaces this one. Those familiar with this older code might have reason to want it for personal use. However, Duxbury recommends that braille produced with this translator should not be used for any official purpose, whether educational, governmental, commercial, or any form of outreach to blind individuals, unless specifically requested by the blind individual in question.

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.


This translator is obsolete (pre-UEB), and remains for historical purposes only.

The English/American Textbook translator is essentially identical to the standard English/American translator, except that it follows conventions defined for textbook usage in "Braille Formats," a BANA publication, in preference to the general literary conventions followed in the English/American table.

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: eng-xnat 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: American English Textbook uses dot 6 as the capital sign.

Emphasis: By default, this translator does not show a distinction between bold and italics. They use the same emphasis mark.

Mathematical Braille: This translator handles math as Nemeth Code when enclosed in [tcs] and [tce] codes; these codes are added automatically for imported math files.

Script Systems Used: The American English Textbook 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 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.)

[vrn~sdbold] suppresses distinct "bold" indication until further notice (i.e. bold is treated the same as italic). This is the default mode for this translator.

[vrn] reverts to the mode where bold is distinguished from italic.

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.)

In the English translators (and a few others), handling passages in a different language does not necessarily require using lnb codes. There is an extra feature to switch into one of the table's "secondary languages" using translation rules built into the base English language table. This kind of language switch uses the lng code. Whether you use lnb or lng depends on your needs.

An example would be an English textbook on French. The textbook uses standard UEB for English. The French is to be translated as uncontracted French braille (with UEB-style punctuation), i.e., French within an English context. You switch into French using [lng~fr] and switch back using plain [lng].

For English, the "secondary languages" are these:

Most of the English language templates include styles that do this switch into secondary languages for you. The "English UEB with Nemeth" template also has a style called math, which switches into Nemeth Code with indicators.

References, History and Credits

Duxbury acknowledges Tom Keith of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for preparing a list of the differences between literary and textbook conventions.

After the acceptance of Unified English Braille (UEB) in North America, these tables became obsolete.