A braille translator takes a document and converts it into a braille file. The braille file can then be sent to a braille printer or read on a braille display or a personal digital assistant.

The first step in converting a computer file into a braille document is to choose the type of braille required—computer braille, a one-to-one representation of what appears on the computer screen; noncontracted (grade 1) braille, which consists of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks; or contracted (grade 2) braille, which includes contractions of common combinations of letters and words. To create a contracted braille file, a braille translation program takes the computer text file, inserts the proper contractions, and formats the document properly for the braille page. Some braille translation programs are available free of charge and may be downloaded from the Internet; other programs may cost up to $895.

The main questions to ask when purchasing braille translators are:

  • Is the translator compatible with your computer’s operating system?
  • Do you need multiple languages?

Braille transcription software that can be used with any braille embosser, as well as with any ink printer for printing braille in visual form. Designed to perform text-to-braille translation easily, quickly and accurately. Available in Windows and two DOS versions.

Duxbury Braille Translator
Text-to-braille and braille-to-text translation program available in both Macintosh and PC versions. Produces contracted and uncontracted braille, mathematics, and technical braille.

GOODFEEL Braille Music Translator
Braille translator that converts computer files of print scores to the equivalent braille music. Transcribes instrumental parts, vocal solos, keyboard works and full orchestral scores from beginner through advanced levels. Includes Lime music notation editor, Sharpeye music OCR software and LimeAloud access method.

Translates printed music of any complexity, including single-line instrumental music, songs with lyrics, piano music, and orchestral scores, into braille. Has its own built-in music notation editor and braille editor. Can import music from MIDI files. Automatically translates the entered music into braille, then displays it in a braille editor that supports six-key entry.