What is braille translation software?

Date Updated

Although people who are blind use speech output systems to read aloud electronic documents, tactile formats are often most effective in highly technical disciplines such as mathematics, physics, computer science, and engineering. Braille translation software translates electronic documents into braille code. From these files, a refreshable braille display can present tactile braille or a braille embosser can produce a hard-copy on special paper.

Commonly used products include Duxbury Braille Translator and Braille2000. Open source braille translation programs include KNFB Reader or LibLouis. Specific applications provide support for a wide array of electronic document formats that may include ASCII, RTF, MS Word, Word Perfect, PDF, HTML, and XML, as well as files prepared according to the NIMAS textbook or DAISY digital talking book standards. Some products also support math equation formats, such as LaTeX, MathType, or MathML.

For more information on this topic, consult the Knowledge Base articles What are some techniques for creating braille math materials?, What is a refreshable braille display?, and In a postsecondary setting, who is responsible for providing braille translation?