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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Braille Translation Software

Many braille transcribers use braille translation software to convert electronic files into a braille format ready to emboss. There are several different braille translation software products available today, and some of these are designed for translating specific media, such as music.
The following list contains the name, a short description, contact information and web address of some of the most popular software applications.
While these software programs are helpful, it is important to note that no program can, as of yet, output "braille-reader-ready" materials. Such formatting elements as tabs and indents, and special elements such as tables, captions, and graphs are handled by some programs better than others. Therefore, it is always important to have a human being review the program's output before presenting it to someone as finished braille.

Louis - The Macintosh Braille Translator

Louis is a full featured braille translator for the Apple Macintosh. Designed around liblouis and liblouisxml Louis is designed to produce braille in a wide range of formats and languages. Features include:
  • Full Mac GUI with VoiceOver.
  • Full online and local documentation.
  • Translation of MS Word, text, XML, HTML DocBook, DAISY/NIMAS, NewsML.
  • Ability to learn new XML based formats.
  • Support for a wide range of languages.
  • Support for MathML to nemeth translation.
  • Back translation.
  • Creating and saving custom configuration files.
  • Integration with TextEdit, including a TextEdit menu script.
  • Braille contextual menu for translating English text to U.S. Grade two braille in Cocoa applications.
  • Braille widget for quick translations and sign making.
  • Braille and BrailleShadow True Type fonts in the public domain.
  • Ability to run translations from the command line.
> Louis and the support programs are free and open source. The source code for Louis can also be downloaded from the > Louis website: http://www.cucat.org/projects/louis/

WinBraille

WinBraille is as easy to use as MS Word or any other text editor. With WinBraille, blind users will be integrated in networks and on the internet in the same way as seeing users already are.
WinBraille is available in two versions; the simpler Free version, and the more advanced PRO-version that requires a license.
WinBraille is based on templates. The result is easier, quicker and better braille translation. When translating text into Braille, WinBraille templates are your filter. The templates decide how your Braille document will be formatted and translated. Just set your template, and WinBraille takes care of the rest.

http://winbraille.en.uptodown.com/

KwikBrl

This software provides a simple, quick way to produce grade 2 literary English braille. With a braille embosser linked to a PC or laptop, anyone, whether they know braille or not, can make a braille copy of any text. Features include:


  • Fully automatic
  • Various braille paper size settings
  • Braille with or without capitals
  • Page header and paragraph layout options
  • Letter sign for acronyms
  • Easy brailling from the internet using the WebbIE text browser
  • Easy installation under any Windows operating system
  • British braille code
Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk

Duxbury Braille Translator

Duxbury is a multi-platform, multi-language braille translation application for print-to-braille and braille-to-print translation, has formatting features to make the translation consistent with established conventions, and word processing features for making print or braille edits. The software is fully accessible with magnification software as well as screen reading software.

Duxbury Systems, Inc.
270 Littleton Rd., Unit 6,
Westford, MA 01886-3523 USA
Phone: (978)692-3000
Fax: (1-978)692-7912
Email: info@duxsys.com
Web: Duxbury Systems: http://www.duxburysystems.com

MegaDots

MegaDots is a DOS-based braille translator from Duxbury Systems. It has been developed for volume transcribers: individuals who have significant production requirements. MegaDots supports print-to-braille and braille-to-print conversion, with the additional benefit of easy application of styles to create proper formatting in either print or braille. The software is fully accessible and supports most popular screen enlargement programs. While MegaDots is a DOS application, most current MegaDots users work with MegaDots from their Windows desktop. MegaDots works with MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. Some inkprint printers are "Windows only," requiring the machinery of Windows to perform basic operations. These inkprint printers do not work with MegaDots. MegaDots works with all commercially available braille embossers. MegaDots speaks with screen readers that work with MS-DOS applications, including JAWS for Windows.

Duxbury Systems, Inc.
270 Littleton Rd., Unit 6,
Westford, MA 01886-3523 USA
Phone: (978)692-3000
Fax: (1-978)692-7912
Email: info@duxsys.com
Web: Duxbury Systems: http://www.duxburysystems.com

NFBTRANS

NFBTRANS is a DOS-based text-to-braille software program available for free download through the National Federation of the Blind website. While acknowledging that the program lacks some of the functionality of commercial software programs, its developers have created a very usable translation program for most situations, one that will give the user a feel for braille translation.

Email: nfb@nfb.org
Web site: https://nfb.org/nfbtrans

Braille2000

Braille2000 is a tool for producing braille. It is fully Internet-aware, making it as simple as a mouse click to send a braille document to another person. Braille2000 is XML aware, it allows the user to read and write braille XML files as well as translate XML print text into braille. Braille2000 is for Windows95, Windows98, WindowsME, Windows2000, and WindowsXP. It is compatible with the now obsolete ED-IT PC software.

Computer Application Specialties Company
P.O. Box 22219
Lincoln, NE 68542-2219
Phone: (402) 423-4782
Fax: (402) 423-5154
Web: CASC Braille 2000: http://www.braille2000.com/casc.htm

Six-Key Input Editors

It is often necessary for a transcriber to manually input information into a file that's being converted from print to braille or vice versa. The following Six-Key Input editors assist in that process by converting standard keyboards into a six-key braille input device. These programs may also have features that support the translation of print to braille.

SixIn

Sixin gives access to the PC for Braille users.
Sixin allows the braillist to use a standard QWERTY keyboard braille-style. With fingers on keys s d f and j k l and thumbs on the spacebar, either grade 2 or computer Braille can be written at speed and print appears on the screen. This text can be read with speech or a Braille display, and saved or modified as usual with a PC. Sixin is ideal for the student, the would-be speed writer or those having difficulties with QWERTY keyboards. It is best used with NotePad and may not work with all versions of MS Word.

Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk


ED-IT PC

ED-IT PC is a six-key transcription program for sighted transcribers that can be used to handle all standard braille production tasks, including literary, textbook, math, and music transcriptions. It features powerful tools including automatic paragraph indent with word-wrap, automatic running heads, and automatic page numbering with dynamic reformatting to maintain proper page layout.

Computer Application Specialties Company
P.O. Box 22219
Lincoln, NE 68542-2219
Phone: (402) 423-4782
Web: Ed-it PC: http://www.c-a-s.com/editpc/

Pokadot

Pokadot is a six-key direct keyboard input braille transcription program for sighted braille transcribers. It can be downloaded for free from the Pokadot web site.

Email: lend@braille-pokadot.com
Phone: 360-574-6167
Web: Pokadot: http://www.braille-pokadot.com

Braille Music Translation Programs

Goodfeel Braille Music Translator

GOODFEEL lets sighted people who read print music (but who may not know braille) prepare print scores for automatic transcription into braille. Blind musicians learn new material using the accessible notation editor and can even independently create printed scores for sighted musicians to read. Integrated presentation of print and braille on screen.
Scan, import or play music directly into the editor. Proof and revise if necessary. Emboss or read with note-taker/braille display. Convert from Finale, Sibelius, etc., via MusicXML import.

Dancing Dots
1754 Quarry Lane
PO Box 927
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0927
Phone: 610-783-6692
Fax: 610-783-6732
Web: Dancing Dots: http://www.dancingdots.com

Opusdots Lite Music Braille Translation Software

Opus Technologies created OpusDots Lite for sighted teachers, family, friends and others who know print music notation but may not know braille. It is used for translating printed sheet music into music braille, and relies on "Scan and Click" technology with which the user can select musical elements from the scanned image. These are then entered and automatically translated into braille.

Opus Technologies
12222 Thunderhead Street
San Diego, CA 92129
Phone/Fax: (858) 538-9401
Toll-Free: (866) OPUSTEC
Email: opus@opustec.com
Web: Opus Technologies: http://www.opustec.com

Toccata Braille Music Translator

Toccata is a fully-integrated program with its own built-in music notation editor and braille editor. The program can also import music from MIDI files, and uses the SharpEye optical music recognition program for scanning printed sheet music for editing and loading into Toccata.

Optek Systems
P.O. Box 277
Rydalmere
NSW 1701
Australia
Phone: +612 9891 6600
Fax: +612 9891 6875 Email: terryk@mpx.com.au
Web: Optek Systems: http://members.optusn et.com.au/~terryk/toccata.htm
Toccata is distributed in the United States by Opus Technologies:
Opus Technologies
12222 Thunderhead Street
San Diego, CA 92129
Phone/Fax: (858) 538-9401
Toll-Free: (866) OPUSTEC
Email: opus@opustec.com
Web: Opus Technologies: http://www.opustec.com

Accessible Notation Software

The following technology allows blind musicians to independently enter, revise and print music in conventional staff notation for sighted musicians to read and perform.

Lime Aloud from Dancing Dots

Using Lime with Lime Aloud, you can independently prepare printed scores of your musical ideas such as original compositions and arrangements or assignments for music courses.
Lime is software that lets you read and write printed music notation. Lime Aloud gives the blind musician excellent access to Lime's rich set of notation editing features. With the JAWS for Windows screen reader software installed, Lime Aloud provides the blind musician with verbal and musical cues that make it easy to use Lime independently and most productively.

Click this link to learn more about Lime Aloud from Dancing Dots.

Other Resources

The National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education Through Technology, Media and Materials (NCIP), located at the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusettes has compiled a list of braille translation software programs and braille embossers on their website.

Education Development Center, Inc.
55 Chapel Street
Newton, Massachusetts 02458-1060
Telephone: (617) 969-7100
Email: www@edc.org
Web site: Education Development Center: http://www2.edc.org /NCIP/library/vi/output.htm#anchor341123

RoboBraille: Email to Braille and Back Again

RoboBraille automates the translation of text documents into Braille and speech. The service is available free of charge to all non-commercial users. With RoboBraille, you can:


  • Translate documents into contracted Braille
  • Translate documents into speech
  • Translate text into visual Braille
  • Convert text documents between different character sets
  • Convert Braille documents to specific Braille character sets
  • Partition documents into smaller parts
Users, who do not need to register, send in documents as email attachments in Word, rich text, html or plain text formats. A unique software package translates the documents into contracted Braille or mp3 files in up to five languages. Documents are returned electronically and must then be rendered on a Braille embosser or displayed on a Braille display, where a Braille format is requested.
The RoboBraille service is run by an international consortium led by the Danish national body for young people and children with impaired vision, Organisation Synscenter Refsnaes. Languages currently handled are Danish; English; Greek; Italian; and Portuguese. The team also plans to add French, Lithuanian and Norwegian.
The development consortium comprises The Royal National College for the Blind in the UK, the Associazone Nazionale Subvedenti in Italy, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland in Ireland, the National Association of Housing for the Visually Impaired in Ireland, Pagkypria Organozi Tyflon in Cyprus and the Centro de Inovacao para Deficientes (CIDEF) in Portugal.
The team plans to expand the service, enabling users to convert documents to DAISY books, Braille maths and Braille music; and introduce a service for banks and tax offices to send electronic documents to print-impaired customers.

Click this link to visit RoboBraille at http://www.robobraille.org.





























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