Biblical Original Languages
This is a specialty braille translation system for biblical scholars and students in seminaries. This system supports print-to-braille and braille-to-print translation. It is the result of a collaboration between a group of blind biblical scholars and Duxbury Systems.
The special template and braille table for the Biblical Original Languages handle the following languages and scripts:
- Material written in the Nestle-Aland Notation
- Various European languages with accent marks
There is only one template for Biblical Original Language Studies: Biblical Original Language Studies - Basic.
Using this translator, most of these languages produce uncontracted braille.
Whereas in most DBT translators, it is necessary to use a language switching code to change from one language to another within a single document, in the special braille table for Biblical Languages, no language switching code is required for print-to-braille translation. Within the languages listed above, the switch occurs as each different script is recognized. (See also the last section of this topic on braille-to-print.)
This translation system has unique features such as the ability to translate Ancient Greek scriptural documents that are marked up with the special symbols of the "critical apparatus" (Nestle-Aland Notation) to cite the differences between the various original sources of the New Testament. That notation is discussed in this topic, along with several references for Hebrew braille, and some notes about back translating from braille-to-print.
The committee used several sources for sample material, including documents from the website www.sacred-texts.com (cited here for the interested).
In addition, the following two sample files were placed on the Duxbury website (and you can fetch them through these links).
For a sample file of Syriac, see the Word file Syriac.docx.
For a sample file of scriptural analysis material in the Nestle-Aland Notation, see the Word file Matthew.docx. This sample displays how technical the Nestle-Aland material can become.
Note Unfortunately, the font for Nestle-Aland Notation was not embedded in this sample file. So, unless you have the "LibronixApparatus" font installed on your computer, the specialized Nestle-Aland characters will appear as dingbats instead of in the forms shown in the illustration below. Even so, the Matthew.docx sample will translate correctly into braille in DBT, because the Unicode values are correct.
Using "Critical Apparatus" Mode
Critical Apparatus mode performs two essential services. First, it handles the 18 special characters used in Nestle-Aland Notation (Unicode range: U+2713-275A). Second, it adds a braille cell prefix of dots 456 before each Greek word and a double dot 6 before each Hebrew letter.
The opening line in the Matthew.docx sample file contains a DBT command to turn on Critical Apparatus mode, which enables the translation of Nestle-Aland markup into braille. When this command is entered in DBT, the code is [vrn~ca]. However, when DBT codes are embedded in a Word document, the syntax is a little different and the code looks like this: [[*vrn~ca*]].
To enter this code in DBT (prior to translating your document), follow these steps.
- Place your cursor at the top of the Duxbury *.dxp file.
- Press ctrl+[. That is, hold down the control key while pressing the left square bracket. This opens the dialog for entering a DBT command.
- Then enter the letters vrn~ca, which turns on the Critical Apparatus mode. (All vrn codes initiate a variant mode of translation. The parameter "ca" indicates the "critical apparatus" mode.)
- Finally, press the Enter key, which closes the dialog.
To turn off Critical Apparatus mode, go to the place in the file where you wish it to stop, and enter the command [vrn].
Nestle-Aland Notation uses the Libronix Apparatus font, whose characters normally appear as shown below.
Because the Nestle-Aland characters will not display correctly without the LibronixApparatus font installed, we provide the chart of text-critical signs below. The chart contents are:
- Column 1: Unicode Number
- Column 2: Character appearance without the Libronix Apparatus font installed (the correct appearance is in the illustration above).
- Column 3: The braille encoding of this character.
- Column 4: The description of this character.
|U+2713||✓||[||This sign marks the end of omitted text. It pairs with 274F.|
|U+2714||✔||(||See 2715. Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. The first such instance has no dot or superscript. The second has a dot. The third has a superscripted 1; the fourth, a superscripted 2; etc.|
|U+2715||✕||r||The words following in the text are replaced with other words by the witnesses cited. Sign 2716 marks the end of the replaced text. Frequently this involves the transposition of words. To the extent the words are identical with those in the text, they are indicated by italic numerals corresponding to their position in the printed text (cf. Mt 27,51).|
|U+2716||✖||w||This sign marks the end of the replaced text, the counterpart to 2715.|
|U+2717||✗||i||This sign marks the location where one or more words, or sometimes a whole verse, is inserted by the witnesses cited.|
|U+2718||✘||9||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2717.|
|U+2719||✙||)||This sign marks the end of the replaced text, the counterpart to 2714.|
|U+2741||❁||lxx||Reference to Septuagint. This symbol indicates that a variant suggests a parallel expression in the Septuagint text.|
|U+274D||❍||o||The (one) word following in the text is omitted by the witnesses cited.|
|U+274F||❏||o||The words, clauses, or sentences following in the text are omitted by the witnesses cited. Sign 2713 marks the end of the omitted text.|
|U+2750||❐||r||The (one) word following in the text is replaced with one or more words by the witnesses cited.|
|U+2751||❑||q||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2750.|
|U+2758||❘||\||A solid vertical line separates the instances of variation from each other within a single verse or section of the apparatus.|
|U+2759||❙||t||A broken vertical line separates the various alternative readings from each other within a single instance of variation. These readings taken together comprise a group of readings, or a variation unit.|
|U+275A||❚||c||A raised colon indicates a variant form of punctuation.|
|U+2765||❥||>||Centered dots and superscript numerals distinguish between multiple occurrences of the same kind of variant within a single unit of the apparatus. Corresponds to 2766.|
|U+2766||❦||<||The words following in the text are transposed by the witnesses cited. Sign 2767 in the text marks the end of the portion of text transposed. The sequence of the transposed words is indicated when necessary by italic numerals corresponding to the position of the words in the printed text (cf. Mt 16,13).|
|U+2767||❧||:||This sign marks the end of the portion of text transposed. Corresponds to 2766.|
Separate Unicodes are assigned for some symbols (2714, 2718, 2719, 2751, 2765), but 2767 can also appear with a dot. Symbols 2715, 2716, 2717, 2750, 2766, 2767, 274F, and 275A can also appear with superscript numbers.
Hebrew Reference Tables
The Hebrew Braille references that follow begin with a table of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
|v||beth without daggesh|
|b||beth with daggesh|
|*||kaf without daggesh|
|k||kaf with daggesh|
|f||peh without daggesh|
|p||peh with daggesh|
|&||sin/shin with no dot|
|:||sin with left dot|
|%||shin with right dot|
|?||tav without daggesh|
|\||tav with daggesh|
Hebrew Points (Vowels and Other Marks)
|Braille||Vowel or Modifier|
|"||daggesh, placed before the letter. Ex: "g "z|
|^||mapiq, placed before the letter. Ex: ^h|
|,||rafe, placed before the letter. Ex: ,dl|
|_||line break in BHS (especially helpful in poetic sections)|
|6||mark above the line (rare)|
|;||mark below the line (rare)|
Placement of Cantillation Marks
The terms "prepositive" and "postpositive" appear in the table below. "Prepositive" means the symbol comes before the word (the first thing you see in the word). "Postpositive" means the symbol comes after the word (the last thing you see in the word).
Usually accents that do not have their position predetermined appear immediately after the vowel in the stressed syllable. However, if doing so would break up a contraction such as hiriq-yod, the accent is placed between the opening consonant and the vowel. In a word ending with a vowel where the stress is on the last syllable, a qadma would be placed before the vowel as well, so not to be confused with a postpositive pashta.
|.a||azla/geresh (megurash if prepositive)|
|.j||mahpakh (y'tiv when prepositive)|
|.p||qadma (pashta when postpositive)|
|.t||tiphcha/tarha (dehi when prepositive)|
|.z||tzinor (zarqa when postpositive)|
Script Indicators: Print-to-Braille and Braille-to-Print
A key feature of the Biblical Languages translation system is its ability to handle multiple scripts/languages in the same document.
To turn on the inclusion of script indicators, insert the DBT code [vrn~liy] in the inkprint document ("l i y" for "language indicators, yes"). To turn off the inclusion of script indicators, insert the code [vrn~lin] ("l i n" for "language indicators, no").
The default setting at the start of a document is not to include language/script indicators (as if vrn~lin had been entered). When the indicator setting is "no", this DBT translator inserts language change codes using DBT language codes instead: [lng~el] for Greek, [lng~he] for Hebrew, etc.
The DBT braille-to-print translator for Biblical Languages can use either the script indicators in the text or DBT language switching codes (inserted into the text) to determine the correct language for rendering inkprint from the braille. In this manner, you can use the this translator to write multi-lingual documents in braille and translate them into inkprint for distribution to others.
For writing in braille, you can use the following chart as a reference to switch scripts.
|"(ar'||switch to Arabic|
|"(de'||switch to German|
|"(el'||switch to Greek|
|"(es'||switch to Spanish|
|"(fr'||switch to French|
|"(gr'||switch to Greek|
|"(he'||switch to Hebrew|
|"(ip'||switch to IPA|
|"(it'||switch to Italian|
|"(la'||switch to Latin|
|"(ru'||switch to Russian|
|"(sy'||switch to Syriac|
|,")||restore the base language (i.e., switch to English)|