A Braille translator is a computer program used to transform a document into a representation comprised of Braille characters. Text is converted from letters, numbers and punctuation to the Braille format, where those characters are represented by a series of dots within a six dot rectangular cell. Different programs can be used to display the Braille output to a computer screen, create an output file with the translation, or send it directly to a Braille printer.
There are numerous programs available to users looking for a Braille translator. Several online sites offer tools that allow the user to directly input text to be transformed and then display the translation on-screen. Others offer programs that are free to download. Some companies sell software packages or licenses that work with different operating systems and offer special features.
Several factors are important to consider when deciding on a Braille translator to use. Some programs allow for the translation of multiple languages, while others may only handle one or a few. Different programs work with different operating systems, so users will need to find one that is compatible with their computer. Types of file formats that can be created also differ from program to program, so users looking to generate specific types of output files need to ensure the Braille translator they use supports them.
In addition to regular text, some programs can also translate music to Braille. Many of these types of translators can convert instrumental and piano music, songs with lyrics, and even orchestral scores. Some can accept only print music, while others can also transform actual music files.
Typically, one of three types of Braille are used for creating the output. Grade 1 is made up of letters, numbers and punctuation marks, each represented by a single six dot cell. Grade 2 includes contractions of certain words. Computer Braille is simply a direct representation of the computer display. Depending on the Braille translator being used, some or all of these types may be available.
Once a document is translated from text, it can be sent to a Braille printer, or embosser. This is a special type of printer that puts the raised Braille characters onto paper so they can be read by the blind. A Braille translator program and embosser may be used on a very small scale by an individual or on a large scale by publishers printing for a wide audience.