English (South African, Pre-Unified) - Translator Table South African Flag

Table Designator: eng-zaf00

Advisory: This braille translator is obsolete. The governing braille authority has introduced a newer braille code that replaces this one. Those familiar with this older code might have reason to want it for personal use. However, Duxbury recommends that braille produced with this translator should not be used for any official purpose, whether educational, governmental, commercial, or any form of outreach to blind individuals, unless specifically requested by the blind individual in question.

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 English/South African (pre-UEB) tables support print-to-braille translation of English-language literary text in contracted or uncontracted English braille according to South African usage prior to the adoption of Unified English Braille (UEB) in South Africa starting in 2004 (which differed in some minor respects from British usage during that same earlier time period).

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: eng-zaf00 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: South African English uses dot 6 as the capital sign.

Emphasis: The South African translator converts emphasis in inkprint in a mannar consistent with the older braille code.

Mathematical Braille: This translator handled math as older British maths when enclosed in [tsc] and [tce] codes. This would happen automatically for math imports.

Script Systems Used: The South African English translator handles Roman characters, and a wide variety of symbols and punctuation marks.

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 any grade 1 indicator.

[g2] -- resumes grade 2 as the "prevailing grade," but does not insert any 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.

Language Table Switching

In the English translators (and a few others), handling passages in a different language does not necessarily require using lnb codes. There is an extra feature to switch into one of the table's "secondary languages" using translation rules built into the base English language table. This kind of language switch uses the lng code. Whether you use lnb or lng depends on your needs.

An example would be an English textbook on French. The textbook uses standard UEB for English. The French is to be translated as uncontracted French braille (with UEB-style punctuation), i.e., French within an English context. You switch into French using [lng~fr] and switch back using plain [lng].

For English, the "secondary languages" are these:

Most of the English language templates include styles that do this switch into secondary languages for you. The "English UEB with Nemeth" template also has a style called math, which switches into Nemeth Code with indicators.

References, History and Credits

These tables were derived from the then current English/British Tables in March 1986 at the Institute for the Blind, Worcester, South Africa, with the assistance of Duxbury Systems They are presently maintained mainly by Mr. Christo de Klerk with the help of Mr. Jan Bam, and with occasional assistance from Duxbury.

"Code for Computer Braille Notation" (1987), a publication of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), defines the computer notation code followed.

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.