Venda - Translator Table South African Flag

Table Designator: ven

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 Venda tables support print-to-braille translation of Venda-language literary text in contracted or uncontracted braille.

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

Key Characteristics

Table Designator: ven 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: Venda uses dot 6 as the capital sign.

Emphasis: The Venda translator converts all forms of emphasis in inkprint (bold, italics, underlining, and script) using exactly the same indicators as Unified English Braille.

Mathematical Braille: You can access the UEB Braille mathematics translator simply by using mathematics markup. You are not restricted to using the math Style.

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

Secondary Languages

In the context of the Venda base table, several other languages may be entered and converted to grade 1 braille using the [lng...] code. For instance, lng with the parameter for French, [lng~fr], would introduce a French passage where the normal and accented letters would be treated as French grade 1 braille, but the translation would continue to employ the normal South African punctuation and indicators. That passage would end, reverting to Venda, by the use of [lng] without a language indicator. The available languages, together with their associated abbreviations for lng~ are as follows:

This list is identical to the list of secondary languages available in UEB English, with the addition of Afrikaans.

Note that, in addition to the above-listed secondary languages supported within the Venda table, it is also possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT. (See Language Table Switching below.)

Sister Tables

The Venda translator is closely related to the entire family of languages of South Africa: Afrikaans, Ndebele, Nguni, Sotho (Southern or Northern), Swati, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu. Each of these translators handles secondary languages, math translation, and has translation codes similar to English UEB.

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.

The translation codes for Venda are very similar to the translation codes for the Unified English table. These include the secondary language codes and the codes to change the handling of the quotation mark. See the Entry for UEB English for a discussion of the codes to control the handling of quotation marks.

[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.

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

These tables were developed starting in December 1995 by the South Africa Blind Workers Organization (SABWO), Johannesburg, working from earlier sample tables provided by Duxbury Systems. They are presently maintained mostly by Mr. Christo de Klerk with the help of Mr. Jan Bam, and with assistance from Duxbury.

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: