English (British) Flag of the United Kingdom

Table Designator: eng-xuk

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.


While Unified English Braille (UEB) has replaced this code in most English-speaking countries, English/British is still used in some parts of the world, such as Kenya.

The English/British tables support print-to-braille translation of English-language literary text, following the codes and customs established by the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK), as revised 2004-2005.

Several other languages are processed as sub-languages and transcribed in accordance with BAUK practice. Technical codes for math and science (BAUK Math Code) and computer notation (BAUK's Braille Computer Notation [BCN]) are also supported.

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: eng-xuk 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: English/British uses dot 6 as the capital sign. Extensive use of capitalization in British braille started in 2005.

Emphasis: This translator follows the BAUK 2005 practice for emphasis indicators.

Mathematical Braille: This translator uses the pre-UEB British braille mathematics system.

Script Systems Used: The English/British 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.

There are no special translator modes for this table, only those which are present for all tables, such as the [lnb~] code (language-switch) and a few codes for internal testing.

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

These tables were originally based upon the manual for British literary braille usage, "British Braille - A Restatement of Standard English Braille," a publication of the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK). The mathematics portions are based upon "Braille Mathematics Notation" (1989), also a BAUK publication.

Duxbury Systems developed the literary portions of the tables in May 1978, with feedback from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Sydney, Australia (then the Royal New South Wales Institute for Deaf and Blind Children), who were the first users of DBT to produce braille according to British practice.

Support for the American Computer Braille Code (CBC) specified in "Code for Computer Braille Notation" (1987), a publication of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), was added in March 1988, at the same time that it was added to the American tables. These British tables continued to use CBC until 2001, when it was discontinued in favor of BAUK's Braille Computer Notation (BCN).

Support for the British math code was developed in 1999 and added to these tables in 2000.

Starting in May 2004 (and finishing in 2005), these tables were split off from the prior British tables and extensively revised to reflect the changes introduced by BAUK and published in the 2004 edition of "British Braille."

Since that time these English / British 2005 tables have largely been replaced by English UEB.

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: languages@duxsys.com.