Department of Mathematics,
University of the Aegean.
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
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.
Frequently asked questions
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
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
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
Created by Antonis Tsolomitis
Modified on 24/Feb/2020.