English (UEB) - Translator Table Flag of All nationsInternational Council for English Braille Logo.

Table Designator


This is the technical description of a DBT Translation table. If you want more general information about languages and template choices, please see the list of templates.

Initially, the language table for braille translation is determined by the selected template, and may be changed using the Document / Translation Tables menu. Using those menus does not require use of the table designator. However, to switch to a different translation table partway through a file, one must enter a DBT code and the designator for the table to switch to. For switching secondary languages within a base language table, see the [lng~X] command. For switching from one base language to another, see the [lnb~...] command.

Functional Summary

The English/Unified tables support print-to-braille translation of English-language literary text, following the specifications of Unified English Braille (UEB or UEBC, also formerly known as UBC) that was developed by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) from 1992 to 2004 and that has been maintained by that body since then. In early April 2004, the ICEB General Assembly declared that UEBC was sufficiently complete and ready for possible adoption by the ICEB's constituent national authorities. In a given nation, therefore, UEB may or may not be approved for general use; users should verify the status before assuming that it is approved.

Several languages other than English may also be processed as sub-languages, and transcribed in uncontracted braille (except for Maori, which has only one contraction).

Braille to Print (Back-translation)

Braille-to-print translation is supported for this language. However, braille-to-print translation may not be perfect, therefore beware that errors can occur. If you find errors or have suggestions, please send both the *.dxb and *.dxp files along with an explanation to: languages@duxsys.com. Please be sure to include sample files!

Special Requirements and Limitations

Normal braille-to-print translation is supported only within English literary text. In English technical text, such as mathematics, the braille is translated to a "coded" form that is eventually designed to allow export to LaTeX or other means of displaying normal print mathematics -- but in the short run is readable only as codes. Any braille not in UEB, such as foreign-language passages, will not translate correctly to print. This also means that the "translated line" will typically contain gibberish when the cursor is in embedded foreign-language braille.

Secondary Languages Supported

Several other languages may be entered and treated as "in English context," using the [lng...] code to switch. For instance, [lng~fr] (or [lng~fra]) would introduce a French passage, which would be terminated, i.e.reverting to English, at [lng] (or [lng~en] or [lng~eng]). The available languages, together with their associated "lng" codes, are:

de (or deu) -- German

en (or eng) -- English

es (or esp) -- Spanish

fi -- Finnish

fr (or fra) -- French

it (or ita) -- Italian

la (or lat) -- Latin

mi (or mao) -- Maori

nl -- Dutch

pt -- Portuguese

sv -- Swedish

sw -- Swahili

In Maori text, one contraction ("wh") is normally used, and it will be used as long as grade two is in effect. The other languages are all transcribed in grade 1 regardless of the grade setting. That is, the [g1] and [g2] codes affect the English text and any Maori text, but not the other languages.

Note that in addition to the above-listed "secondary languages" supported within the English/Unified table itself, it is also possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT. (See the [lnb~...] code below.)

Technical Braille Codes Supported

No separate technical braille codes are supported. UEB itself incorporates technical notation such as for mathematics, science and computer material, and so no separate technical code is needed for such material. The method for entering mathematics and other technical notation is the same as for the technical codes supported in the English/American and English/British tables, and translation of such notation to UEB is supported.

It is also possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT (see the [lnb~...]code below), many of which do support various technical codes, such as for mathematics or computer notation, or which support “unified” treatment of technical notation as well as literary text in the base language associated with the table.

Supported DBT Translation Codes

The following DBT translation codes are available when using the English/Unified table.Any other translation codes used will be ignored, or indeed may cause unexpected results.If using an alternative translation table, i.e.when switching to another base language table by means of the [lnb~...] code, please refer to the relevant topic and available codes for that table.


[ab] is equivalent to [g2]



[bline] -- ignored.



[enclis] -- ignored.







[fte~s] (end of script typeform)




[fts~s] (start of script typeform)


[g1] -- switches to grade 1 as the "prevailing grade", but does not insert any grade 1 indicator.

[g1l] switches to "grade 1" (uncontracted) braille and "locks" that setting.

[g1u] undoes the "locking" effect of a prior [g1l], while leaving the contraction grade as "grade 1" (uncontracted) braille.

[g2] -- resumes grade 2 as the "prevailing grade," but does not insert any indicator. (Grade 2 is the normal prevailing grade.)

[g2l] switches to "grade 2" (contracted) braille and "locks" that setting.

[g2u] undoes the "locking" effect of a prior [g2l], while leaving the contraction grade as "grade 2" (contracted) braille.



[in] is equivalent to [g1]





[lng~...] (see "Secondary Languages Supported," above)







[rmn] -- ignored in UEB



[tce] -- allowed but not needed (ignored).

[tcs] -- allowed but not needed (ignored).

[te] -- terminates the grade 1 passage initiated by [ts], inserting grade 1 passage termination indicator, if the prevailing mode is grade 2, and resumes the prevailing grade as established by [g1] or [g2].



[ts] initiates "technical notation," i.e.a "grade 1 passage," inserting the grade 1 passage indicator if the prevailing mode as established by [g1] or [g2] is grade 2, and establishes grade 1 translation.



[uce](see [ucs])

[ucl0~"] establishes that the ordinary keyboard double quote (U+0022) is to be interpreted flexibly, i.e.as an opening quote or a closing quote according to the immediate context. This is the default (initial) condition.

[ucl1~"] establishes that the ordinary keyboard double quote (U+0022) is to be interpreted literally, i.e.as a nondirectional double quote, and translated as such in UEB.

[ucs] marks the beginning of a capital passage when it is desirable to override the automatic logic for determining capital passages. All letters between [ucs] ... [uce] pairs are treated as capitals regardless of their actual case.



[uoq] causes the prevailing quote marks to be "unset," which is the default (initial) condition.when the prevailing quote marks are unset, the first actual quote mark (of those listed above) next encountered in the file determines the prevailing quote mark for the rest of the file unless until a subsequent [uoq...] command is encountered.

[uoq~"] or [uoq~0022] sets the prevailing (or "outer") opening and closing quote to the ordinary keyboard double-quote ("), i.e.U+0022.(This command is incompatible with [ucl1~"], which causes that kind of quote to be treated as nondirectional.)

[uoq~`] or [uoq~0060] sets the prevailing opening and closing quote to the grave accent character (`), i.e.U+0060.

[uoq~«] or [uoq~00ab] sets the prevailing opening quote to the left-pointing double angle quotation mark («), i.e.U+00ab, and the prevailing closing quote to the corresponding right-pointing mark.

[uoq~»] or [uoq~00bb] sets the prevailing opening quote to the right-pointing double angle quotation mark (»), i.e.U+00bb, and the prevailing closing quote to the corresponding left-pointing mark.

Generally speaking, any need to use a [uoq...] command would be very rare, as the default behavior should establish the actual quote pattern (e.g. single outer, double inner, or vice versa) correctly and provide the correct UEB treatment automatically.


[vrn] cancels the effect of any current vrn code.

[vrn~spp] dictates use of the "Spanish" treatment of question marks and exclamation marks (both upright and inverted in both cases) in Spanish language passages.

[vrn~tyfs] establishes "strict" indication of the extent (boundaries) of a typeform. Normally, ordinary punctuation that follows a word is considered to be joined to the word for purposes of typeform indication regardless of whether an [fte~...] comes before or after it. For example, "[fts~b]word[fte~b]!" is normally translated as if it were "[fts~b]word![fte~b]". However, for this example with [vrn~tyfs] in effect, the bold face would be formally terminated before the exclamation mark. (This code also applies to the derivatives of UEB, the Biblical Languages, Ingush, Venda, and Welsh tables.) {As of DBT 12.2}


Characters Supported

The table is designed to work with the following groups of characters:

All ASCII printable characters

Accented characters and punctuation marks typical of French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese

British pound, Japanese yen, Euro, and other miscellaneous signs (DUSCI pages D+ec..., D+ed..., D+ee..., D+f5...)

Mathematical signs, shapes, etc. (DUSCI pages D+df..., D+e2..., D+e5..., D+ef..., D+f0..., D+f1...)

The above is a general guide only (see "General Notes" section at the beginning of this document).



The "RNZFB STAR" series is based upon the document entitled "STAR -- Order of introduction of braille signs," prepared by the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. The contractions are introduced in the following order:

Level 1.1 Alphabet letter wordsigns: like, can, but, knowledge, it, people, every
Level 1.3 Alphabet letter wordsigns: very, go, more, us, you
Level 1.5 Alphabet letter wordsigns: have, rather, do, that, so
Level 1.7 Alphabet letter wordsigns: from, just, quite, will, not, as
Level 1.8 Shortforms: about, above, according, also, again, almost, blind, little, either, immediate
Level 1.9 Shortforms: across, already, altogether, braille, could, deceive, deceiving, declare, declaring, good, great, him, its, letter, paid, said, receive, receiving, today, together, tomorrow, tonight, your, yourselves
Level 1.10 Shortforms: after, afternoon, afterward, always, friend, himself, myself, necessary, neither, quick, rejoice, rejoicing, would, yourself, itself

Level 2.1 Contractions: and, for, of
Level 2.2 Contractions: the, with
Level 2.3 Contractions: st, ar, ing, still
Level 2.4 Contractions: ed, er
Level 2.5 Contractions: ou, ow, out
Level 2.6 Contractions: ch, gh, sh, child, shall
Level 2.7 Contractions:: th, wh, this, which
Level 2.9 Shortforms: themselves, herself, against, first, must, perceive, perceiving, perhaps
Level 2.10 Shortforms: children, much, such, should, although, ourselves, thyself

Level 3.1 Contractions: en, in (groupsign)
Level 3.2 Contractions: be (wordsign) were, his, was
Level 3.3 Contractions: enough, in (wordsign)
Level 3.4 Contractions: be (groupsign) con, dis
Level 3.7 Shortforms: before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, because, conceive, conceiving
Level 3.8 Contraction: ea
Level 3.9 Contractions: bb, cc, ff, gg

Level 4.1 Contractions (dot 5): day, ever, father, here, know, lord, mother

Level 4.2 Contractions (dot 5): name, one, part, question, right
Level 4.3 Contractions (dot 5): some, time, under, work, young
Level 4.4 Shortform: oneself
Level 4.5 Contractions (dot 5): there, where, ought
Level 4.6 Contractions (dot 5): character, through
Level 4.7 Contractions (dots 45): upon, word, these
Level 4.8 Contractions (dots 45): those, whose
Level 4.9 Contractions (dots 456): cannot, had, many
Level 4.10 Contractions (dots 456): spirit, world, their

Level 5.1 Contractions (dots 46): ound, ance, ount
Level 5.2 Contractions (dots 46): sion, less
Level 5.3 Contractions (dots 56): ence, ong, ful, ness
Level 5.4 Contractions (dots 56) (Fully contracted UEB): tion, ment, ity

S.A. Syllabus (UEB)

The "S.A. Syllabus" series is based upon the document entitled "Syllabus -- Order in Which Braille Contractions Are Learnt", prepared by Reinette Popplestone for the University of Cape Town Disability Unit, for teaching English Braille to students in South Africa. The contractions are introduced in the following order:

Level 1.1 Alphabetic word signs: but, people, can, quite, do, rather, every, so, from, that, go, us, have, very, just, will, knowledge, it, like, you, more, as, not

Level 1.2 Five contractions: and, for, of, the, with

Level 1.3 Initial-letter contractions with dot 5: day, part, ever, question, father, right, here, some, know, time, lord, under, mother, work, name, young, one, there

Level 1.4 Two related contractions: these, their

Level 2.1 Short forms: about, good, above, great, according, him, across, immediate, after, little, afternoon, letter, afterward, necessary, again, neither, also, paid, almost, quick, already, said, altogether, today, always, together, blind, tomorrow, braille, tonight, could, would, either, its, friend, your

Level 2.2 Group signs: gh, ed, er, ow, ar, ing

Level 2.3 Group signs which also have a word meaning: ch, child, sh, shall, th, this, wh, which, ou, out, st, still

Level 2.4 Initial-letter contractions with dots 45 and 456: upon, cannot, word, had, those, many, whose, spirit, world

Level 2.5 Two lower contractions: en, in (as part-word only)

Level 3.1 Lower group signs: ea, be (as part-word only), bb, con, cc, dis, ff, gg

Level 3.2 Lower word signs: be, enough, were, his, in, was

Level 3.3 The remaining initial-letter contractions: character, through, where, ought

Level 3.4 The remaining short forms: against, itself, although, yourself, declare, yourselves, declaring, themselves, deceive, children, deceiving, should, first, thyself, himself, ourselves, herself, because, myself, before, must, behind, much, below, perhaps, beneath, perceive, beside, perceiving, between, receive, beyond, receiving, conceive, rejoice, conceiving, rejoicing, oneself, such

Level 3.5 Terminal group signs: ound, ence, ance, ong, sion, ful, ness, tion, ount, ment, ity, less

Level 4.1 Contractions from pre-unified code: o'clock, ble, com, dd, to, into, by, ation, ally

Note: Level 4.1 is, naturally, not relevant when Unified English Braille is the basis of the series as level 3.5 constitutes fully contracted UEB.

References, History and Credits

The earliest versions of this table were adapted by Duxbury Systems in October 1992 from the then-current English/American tables. As the definition of UEB evolved from that time, the tables were updated periodically.

The original derivation process was repeated in September 2000, in accordance with the definition of UEB as of that time, per the documentation posted on the web site for the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) (http://www.iceb.org).

Subsequent decisions of ICEB's UEB Committee, up to and including the decisions regarding the treatment of shortforms concluded in early 2010, have been followed and are reflected in this table.

(Documentation reviewed: August 2010.)