[tex4ht] Could LaTeX Be Used to Format Braille Documents?

Paulo Ney de Souza desouza at math.berkeley.edu
Wed Oct 26 06:57:16 CEST 2011

  One thing that would help here is to set the vocabulary a bit more 
precise. We are talking about TWO different concepts of page-numbering here:


A publication in Braille, in general, contains BOTH numbers. A braille 
reader should know all the time - in what print page - the particular 
content is located, because of reference resolving and other similar 
problems. A case frequently cited is of a teacher that says "lets open 
the book on page 75 ..." - the pagination in braille does not follow the 
pagination in print.

I have been demonstrated once the complexity of using an Index in a 
Braille scientific publication and it is rather substantial because once 
you are interest in a word, for example "manifold" you have literally to:

  - go to the TOC
  - locate the Index
  - go there and locate the word "manifold"
  - read the print-page-number
  - locate in the book the physical pages of that printed-page
  - locate the definition of manifold - looking possible in more that 
one page

To place the "print-page-number" in the body of the text is simple and 
done all the time. One can basically place the print-page-number 
anywhere you need on the page - reserving a space for it on the bottom 
line, is just one of them.

To make a braille edition "know" know the print-page-number is much 
harder ... and possibly what Eitan was working on ...

For detail on page-numbering location in Braille see:


Paulo Ney

On 10/25/2011 6:31 PM, Susan Jolly wrote:
> Dear Professor Hammond,
> Thank you for the detailed response.
> Let me attempt to re-phrase my question in a simpler way.
> The overall goal is to convert existing paged print documents to braille.
> There are two aspects to this process.  One aspect is translating the 
> print
> characters to the corresponding braille characters.  As a very simple
> example, braille does not have separate small and capital letters so
> titlecase words in the print source need to be preceded by a special 
> braille
> character that acts rather like a markup tag.  But the important point as
> far as this discussion is that we can consider the translation aspect 
> of the
> process as a solved problem.
> Braille is typically represented using a transliteration to ASCII 
> characters
> so a document that has been translated to braille looks similar to a 
> plain
> text file.
> The second aspect of the process of converting a print document to 
> braille
> is to format the braille file by doing such things as indenting 
> paragraphs,
> centering headers, and paginating.
> The problem which I apparently haven't explained clearly is that 
> according
> to the pagination standards, braille documents do not have separate 
> headers
> or footers.  Page numbers are simply appended to the first and/or last 
> lines
> of the ordinary (what I called body) text on each page.  These lines 
> must,
> of course, be slightly shortened to accommodate the page numbers plus a
> space or two to separate the text from the page number.
> So my first question is whether one could use LaTeX to paginate an 
> ordinary
> plain text document (not necessarily braille) without using headers or
> footers but rather with the correct page numbers included at the 
> beginning
> or end of the first and/or last lines of the text on each page?
> Susan Jolly

Paulo Ney de Souza
University of California, Berkeley

More information about the tex4ht mailing list