output from text prepared using the IITM multilingual editor.
The Multilingual editor
is a useful application for preparing text in different Indian languages.
Text prepared using the editor may be transcribed into Bharati Braille
using the llf2brl utility. llf2brl converts the text in a .llf file
to the Braille codes consistent with Bharati Braille.
It may appear to the reader that the Multilingual Editor itself
might do the job of conversion. This is indeed the case but in practice Braille documents are formatted to conform to certain specifications. In general, a properly formatted Braille output would utilize all the 40 columns to conserve space. In otherwords, Braille documents are formatted much like the web pages of today, where a paragraph is represented through one long string of text without line break characters. It is therefore necessary to format the output from the multilingual editor to the required specifications.
It is often the case that Bharati Braille documents also include text in standard English. Such text should be transcribed into Grade2 Braille. These requirements cannot be met by the Multilingual Editor and hence the need for the special ll2brl utility.
The llf2brl.exe utility provided
as part of the IITM software package for the visually handicapped, is a
command line based utility which may be run from the DOS command prompt
or a Linux Shell prompt.. The utility is invoked as
llf2brl -i inputfile
Here the input file
is the .llf file prepared using the IITM editor, containing the text to
be embossed in Braille. The output file is the name you wish to give to
the text file that will contain the Braille codes. This output file will
be in plain text form.
llf2brl will transcribe
Indian Language text into Bharati Braille. However, no formatting is done
on the output. In practice, Braille output should be formatted to conserve
paper. For printing the output on a Braille embosser, a freely available
utility called nfbtrans can be used. "nfbtrans" is a powerful transcription
utility with many features which include the generation of Grade-2 Braille
(Braille with contractions). "nfbtrans" is also a command line based application.
"nfbtrans" can be used to add contractiions in a selective fashion. Since
Bharati Braille has not really standardized contractions for Indian language,
" nfbtrans" should be used to produce Bharati Braille output without adding
any contractions. In other words, nfbtrans is used primarily to control
the Braille embosser and print the codes specified in the file passed on
to it for printing.
output produced by llf2brl may be easily checked or proof read by
using any text viewing program (e.g., wordpad, word etc.) and the text
viewed using the Braille fonts (rnib fonts). Also this approach could be
used for formatting the page before embossing.
Here is a brief description
of the steps involved in getting output in Bharati Braille.
1. Use the multilingual editor
to prepare the text in indian languages. This would be a .llf file say
2. Invoke the llf2brl utility
from a command prompt to first convert the .llf file into Bharati Braille
codes. Let the name of the output file be sample.brl
C:>llf2brl sample.llf sample.brl
3. Open sample.brl as a text
file using any standard text editor and display the text in Braille using
the braille fonts. Format the text as required, if the output from llf2brl
is not adequately formatted for direct embossing.
4. Invoke nfbtrans from the
command prompt and specify that the input file (in this case sample.brl)
should be prepared for embossing. The resulting file can be sent directly
to the embosser, again through nfbtrans. Please go through the pages in
the Braille Tutorial to see why transcribed Braille codes cannot be directly
sent to the embosser.
Please note that the
above process involves the use of a GUI based application for proof
reading. This might cause some problems for the visually handicapped.
However, proof reading and formatting could still be accomplished using
Edit under DOS if the person is familiar with the ASCII codes for the braille
cells. The IITM supplied application which works with Jaws for Dos under
Microsoft Windows can be effectively used by the visually handicapped to accomplish
Note on nfbtrans
"nfbtrans" is supplied
as a free utility running under DOS or Unix in text mode and is thus usable
by visually handicapped persons who have access to a screen reader on their
machines. nfbtrans comes with its own setup utility which may be used to
install it. Detailed instructions for using the software are included in
the distribution. The URL for nfbtrans is,
llf2brl and nfbtrans together to transcribe multilingual text which includes
When Indian language
text is mixed with English, the transcription rules to be applied will
differ based on the language/script in the document. Typically English
text would be transcribed into Grade-2 Braille while the text in Indian
laguages will be transcribed into Bharati Braille without any contractions.
The llf2brl utility provides some additional features for controlling the
format of the output. For this purpose, special tags have been defined.
These tags are inserted into the local language document and will be processed
by llf2brl to produce an intermediate form which contains the directives
form is also a text file which can be edited using a standard text editor.
The advantage of this approach is that essential formatting directives
can be introduced in the .llf file itself. The tags provided allow for
centering text, inserting line breaks, selectively transcribe into Grade-1
or Grade-2 Braille and automatically format to a specified width (number
The Readme file
prepared by SDL and included with the llf2brl utility has detailed information
relating to proof reading and formatting.