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The software and conversions is a collaboration of the Mathematics Department professors Andreas Papasalouros and Antonis Tsolomitis.

While there are various software undertakings to convert into Braille, none of them natively supports TeX, while it is known that the vast majority of international scientific documents are written in TeX and its derivatives. The few commercial solutions that exist today (2015) cover only a limited subset of TeX, making the conversion of books in Braille/Nemeth impractical. Our software aims to solve this problem.

The files have been tested that they emboss correctly with LibreOffice with the Braille plugin installed (odt2braille) (opened as Unicode UTF-8 text files) or with WinBraille with the following procedure: open each file with ending .nemeth in Notepad. Select the text and Copy it. In WinBraille open any template and convert it to Braille (braile → translate) and then Paste. (We thank Irene Perissinaki for her help with WinBraille and the tests she did with printing.)

The project was supported by the Research Unit of the University of the Aegean (project 2625).

Get the software: latex2nemeth-v1.0.1.zip

Get the source code: http://latex2nemeth.sourceforge.net/ (License is GPL3)

Available in inand in

Several Mathematics Books and Notes have been converted up to now in Braille/Nemeth and there also exist dictionaries of matheatics symbols. All these files can be found here.

Are there commercial solutions?

One can convert TeX to MSWord (tex2word) with MathType installed and then convert to Braille through Duxbury under certain conditions. Duxbury supports TeX files that open correctly in ScientificNotepad. Officially this is a subset of TeX. In practice, since several translations occur in this proceedure we found that the resulting Braille has many mistakes and it is not readable. (Our tests were performed in 2014.)

Are there free/opensource solutions?

One can go from TeX to mathml (e.g., with tex4ht) and then to LibreOffice using liblouis. It seems that the conversion of TeX to mathml produces code that liblouis translates to Braille with many mistakes. We contacted the developers, through the liblouis discussion list, and it seems that their project does not plan to support TeX. Moreover, they told us that the problem comes from the conversion of TeX to mathml, which is not the mathml expected by liblouis. Liblouis seems more oriented to word processors. (Our tests were performed in 2014.)

Does this program provide a full support of TeX?

TeX (and it's derivatives) is a very big program and more and more capabilities are always added to it. So it does not make a lot of sense to answer this question. But we can say that the program can correctly translate a big part of TeX files, and being a free/open source program it has the possibility to grow as the needs demand. The conversion is done from the LaTeX format. Files written in plain TeX or other formats can (most of the time) easily converted to LaTeX before they are processed for Braille translation.

Which structures of LaTeX and what symbols are supported at the moment?

Many LaTeX symbols and structures are supported. In this list some more environments have been added recently. The table of symbols is huge and covers plain TeX, AMS symbols, txfonts and more.

What if my file is written in an Office Application such as Microsoft Word?

The conversion from Word to LaTeX is relatively easy. If it is a text without mathematics then we simply save it in unicode text (UTF-8). The formatting will be lost but this is not a problem since in Braille we transcribe linearly. The file is then imported in a LaTeX file and the conversion with latex2nemeth follows.

If the file contains mathematics then we can use LibreOffice or if the mathematics is written with the commercial MathType then we need to install the commercial (but inexpensive) word2tex which will allow as to save our file in LaTeX format. From this point, with minimal changes (since word2tex saves it's own macros, and these have to be removed) the conversion is possible with latex2nemeth.

In polytonic the program produces alpha with psili for the character ἀ. But we have been taught that psili is not written in this case. Why this behaviour;

This is tragic: they teach that psili is not written because they technically could not make The commercial program they were using to produce correct Braille for this character. So they adapted their teaching to the bugs of a commercial product! latex2nemeth does not have such issues and will correctly transcribe this character with psili, satisfying the needs of every user of polytonic such as philologists.

Created by Antonis Tsolomitis
on 11/Dec/2014 Modified on 24/Feb/2020. |
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