Department of Mathematics, University
of the Aegean.
The software and conversions is a collaboration of the
Mathematics Department professors Andreas
Papasalouros and Antonis
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
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
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.)
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 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
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
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
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 on
Modified on 15/Nov/2017.