Hebrew (American) - Translator Table Flag of the United States Flag of Israel

Table Designator: heb-usa

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.


The Hebrew/American tables support print-to-braille translation of Hebrew-language literary text into uncontracted braille and English-language literary text into contracted or uncontracted braille, following UEB standards.

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator:heb-usa identifies this translation table for Language Table Switching.

Braille Contractions: Hebrew is produced in uncontracted braille. Passages in English are, by default, produced in contracted braille. In uncontracted braille the letters of a word are produced one-for-one; in contracted braille abbreviated forms are used to save space.

Capital Sign: The Hebrew/American translator does not use any capitalization mark in braille because Hebrew script does not employ capitalization. Text written with the Roman alphabet (such as English) uses dot 6 for capitalization.

Emphasis: The Hebrew/American translator ignores all bold, italics, and underlining from the inkprint text. These are not represented in the braille.

Mathematical Braille: This translator defaults to using the English UEB braille mathematics translator by using the math style.

Script Systems Used: The Hebrew/American translator handles Hebrew script. These are the Unicode characters U+0590-05F4. The translator also handles text in Roman characters, and a wide variety of symbols and punctuation marks. Warning: The Duxbury DBT editor can display Hebrew script but should not be used to edit it. You should clipboard (cut and paste) edited text from Microsoft Word instead.

Sister Tables

The Hebrew/American translator handles Hebrew and English UEB, and follows American standards. There are two other translation tables for Hebrew: Israeli Hebrew and the Biblical Languages table. The Biblical Languages table is designed for the scholarly study of ancient Hebrew.

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.

Braille-to-print translation: requires the use of [lng~he] and [lng~en] codes to indicate whether the current language is Hebrew or English.

Variation Codes: The Hebrew/American translation tables support a number of variations to determine which signs are to be shown in braille. You may switch each of these variations on and off as needed within the document.

These variations determine whether vowels, dagesh marks, and sheva marks in the inkprint are to be shown in Braille. These settings are, for the most part, independent of each other, with the important exception that if you are suppressing vowels, then the print-to-braille translator also suppresses the sheva, regardless of the variation that you set for the sheva.

[vrn~uhv] use Hebrew vowels. (This is the default setting.)

[vrn~shv] suppress Hebrew vowels. Even if the original inkprint text includes vowel signs, the braille does not show them.

[vrn~shd] suppress Hebrew dagesh. (This is the default setting.)

[vrn~uhd] use Hebrew dagesh.

[vrn~shs] suppress Hebrew sheva. (This is the default setting.)

[vrn~uhs] use Hebrew sheva.

To issue a command for one of these variations, go to the Codes list (hot key F5). Select vrn~ from the list, and type the appropriate parameter string in the Code Parameters field. In coded view, the command appears as [vrn~xxx], where xxx shows what you entered in the Code Parameters field.

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.)

References, History, and Credits

Duxbury Systems created these tables in April 2001, based on information provided by the Jewish Braille Institute of America (JBI), in New York, New York.

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.