Table Designator: ara
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 Arabic tables support print-to-braille translation of Arabic-language literary text into contracted or uncontracted Arabic braille according to the Arabic Braille system published in October 2002.
Translation from braille-to-print is supported for this language.
Table Designator: ara 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: The Arabic translator does not use any capitalization mark in braille because the native script does not employ capitalization. Text written with the Roman alphabet (such as English) uses dot 6 for capitalization.
Emphasis: The Arabic translator ignores all bold, italics, and underlining from the inkprint text. These are not represented in the braille.
Mathematical Braille: If you use the recommended DBT template with this translator table, you can access the Arabic Braille mathematics translator using the math style.
Script Systems Used: The Arabic translator handles Arabic script. These are the Unicode characters U+0600-06FF. The Arabic translator also handles text using Roman characters, and a wide variety of symbols and punctuation marks. Warning: The Duxbury DBT editor should not be used to edit Arabic script languages. You should clipboard (cut and paste) edited text from Microsoft Word instead.
The Arabic translator uses Arabic script. There are several translation tables that handle Arabic script: two forms of Arabic, Farsi, and two forms of Urdu.
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.
[g1] switches to grade 1 as the "prevailing grade", but does not insert a grade 1 indicator.
[g2] resumes grade 2 as the prevailing grade, but does not insert a grade 2 indicator. (Grade 2 is the normal prevailing grade.)
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.
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.)
Notice that if you include Roman alphabet characters in a document but do not use a language style or code to switch to a different translation table, you will get uncontracted English with the same marks of punctuation, emphasis, and capitalization used for the base language.
References, History and Credits
The rules for contracted Arabic were originally specified by the former Middle East Committee for the Welfare of the Blind (now under the auspices of the Department of Education) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Working from that specification, Duxbury Systems developed an automated braille translation system for Arabic, believed to be the first anywhere, which was installed at MECWB in 1982. That original form of the system, designed for DBT as it ran on minicomputers of the early 1980s, was used with only minor updates until the late 1990s. The present tables have been updated to work with the much more advanced Windows version of DBT, to incorporate facilities for embedded English as well as Arabic, and to reflect feedback from recent users.
Duxbury Systems is grateful to Mr. Mohammed Ramadan, of Nattiq Technologies, for translating the relevant portions of "Modern Arabic Braille System" (October 2002) and for his further assistance in arranging the testing of all changes introduced in that revision.
The rules for contracted literary English generally follow British practice as of 2009.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.