Why are English, French, German, and Spanish Braille produced differently in various countries?

There are variations in the use of contractions and formatting between North American English and the United Kingdom. Both MegaDots and DBT support these variations. For example, the "ed" sign is not used in the word edition in North America, but the contraction is used in the United Kingdom.

In North America, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) braille rules generally govern how foreign language material is to be produced. The rules say to use uncontracted braille, and give a system for producing the accent marks. This system is not in all respects the same as that used in, for example, France, Germany, or Spain. Those nations may use contracted braille or otherwise vary from North American practice even in uncontracted braille -- for example, in the way that capitals are indicated.

A similar issue affects the treatment of languages other than English in the United Kingdom, where the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK) rules apply. Those rules typically call for some but not all of the foreign-language contractions to be used, and in other ways vary from the BANA rules, but are still not identical to the rules in the country where the language is the prevalent mother tongue. Thus the brailling of a French text in the United States, Great Britain, and France itself would typically be all different.

DBT and MegaDots can produce the uncontracted foreign language braille required in North America. DBT goes further and can produce the braille used in other countries. The system of contractions used for French is different than the system of contractions used for English. Further, the systems of French contractions are different in France and in Quebec. In DBT, you can pick English/American as the primary language, and then code some text as French. This generates the form of French designed for North American readers. The same applies when using the British tables, yielding the form of French designed for British readers. But you can also pick as primary tables French, French/Quebec, and French uncontracted. Thus DBT handles different variations of French braille used around the world.

Copyright Duxbury Systems, Inc. Thursday, May 18, 2017

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