Re: Braille Displays and Multiple Languages/Character Sets

Jason White

All commercially available braille displays that I’m aware of can present text in any language supported by the screen reader. The braille display doesn’t handle the different braille codes; the screen reader does so, then sends a dot pattern to the display. Likewise, the input keys on the braille display are read, and interpreted, by the screen reader itself. The braille display is language-independent in so far as its interactions with the screen reader are concerned.


Thus, choosing a braille display is independent of which languages are to be used.


Assuming that the user in question plans to use JAWS (and you’re asking on a JAWS list, after all), then the next question is whether JAWS offers translation tables for the desired languages. To find out, look in the translation table settings.


If different character sets are to be used, it may be necessary to switch between two different translation tables. JAWS appears to support this; on the Focus 40 Blue display that I’m using here, it’s assigned to dots 2-3-4-5-7 chord. I haven’t experimented with the feature, however.


As to keyboard layout, you can configure this in the operating system, so you shouldn’t need to obtain a new or different physical keyboard, unless there’s a specific reason for preferring a physical keyboard that has slightly different keys on it (for a different language/country).


From: [] On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, January 5, 2018 6:15 PM
Subject: Braille Displays and Multiple Languages/Character Sets


This message may be considered off-topic, but there is really nowhere in particular where I can try to engage those who’ve “been there, done that” (or may be there doing that) with this topic.  If the moderator believes this should not be further discussed on the group, then please post with that request.  I am happy to receive input either on the group or via private message or e-mail.

I may soon be taking on some contract work where one of the questions is what braille display would be best suited for use with foreign (non-English) characters both from an input and output perspective.  Since I am sighted and monolingual this particular need is something that’s entirely in the abstract for me.   This is definitely a time where input from those who have already encountered this need and tried things out would be invaluable.

I would also be curious as to whether those who are dealing with multiple languages where non-English-language character sets are being used have found it useful to use a language-specific keyboard.  It certainly makes text entry easier but only if you are able to familiarize yourself with the layout on said keyboard and get as comfortable with it as the keyboard you typically use.  I know that these are available as replacements on laptops so I’d have to presume that the external USB keyboard equivalent is available as well.

Also, if you as a multi-language computer user are willing to be a part of an “e-mail circle” about this please let me know.   This is a time where more input, and possibly conflicting input, is a very good thing provided you can describe how you’ve arrived at your conclusions.  It would be great to be the proverbial "fly on the wall" while those with long experience with this need discuss their experiences with each other.   This may or may not happen, but I thought I'd ask.

Brian  Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1709, Build 16299  (dot level on request - it changes too often to keep in signature)

If you don't like someone, the way he holds his spoon will make you furious; if you do like him, he can turn his plate over into your lap and you won't mind.     ~ Irving Becker

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