The Most Prominent Developments of Arabic Braille

The most prominent developments and amendments to the Arabic Braille tables

The following are the most prominent changes introduced to the new braille system, which differ from the unified Arabic Braille system and the old Liblouis library tables:

Note: This article does not include all symbols/ signs that have been changed or added. Rather, it provides a brief overview of some aspects of the changes and some examples of them.

Another note: In this article, reference is made to the unified Arabic script adopted in 2002 with the old braille name.

Change the dots of some basic punctuation signs

When developing Arabic Braille, we have made sure that each sign has its dots, that the sign has a single interpretation in all contexts, and that no sign conflicts with another to avoid confusion when reading or entering. Accordingly, the dots for some punctuation signs and some basic signs have been changed. Here are some examples:

The semicolon “;” (English), “؛” (Arabic)

The semicolon has changed “؛” so its dots (23-5) became in two cells instead of dots (56) in one cell. This change was made to conflict the dots 56 with the letter sign and to allow the use of dots 56 as a prefix for some mathematical symbols.

Slash sign “/”

The slash sign in old Arabic Braille was represented by the dots 34, which contradicts the letter “أ”. This sign is sometimes written in the middle of the letters as if someone writes “أ/أحمد”, so this sign has been changed to the dots 36-456 to avoid confusing the reader, and it can be entered according to the entry table in the Liblouis library.

The At sign “@”

The “At” sign was represented in old braille by a single cell from the fourth dot. This sign has been changed to two cells with dots 4-1, to allow for the fourth dot to be used as a prefix for many of the mathematical symbols that have been inserted into the new braille.

The number sign “#”

The number sign is used a lot in computer environments, for example when creating a hashtag on social media. This sign was represented in old braille by dots 6543, which is in contrast to the number sign which is used as a prefix for numbers in braille. So, the number sign has been changed to 654-53 to make it easier to write and read separately from the number sign for braille.

Less than sign “<”

The less than sign has been changed from “<” to become 35-6 instead of 246 so that it can be written using the braille grade 2 table without conflict with the abbreviation for the word “إذا”.

Greater than sign “>”

The greater than sign has been changed from “>” to become 35-4 instead of 135, in contrast to the letter “ى” and the abbreviation of the word “على” in the abbreviation table.

Caret sign “^”

The caret sign “^” has been changed to 25-4 instead of 346, so that 643 dots can be used as a prefix for many mathematical signs, and so the user can write the caret sign using the braille grade 2 table without conflicting with the letter abbreviation “ين”.

Dollar sign “$”

The dollar sign was changed to be represented by the dots 256-4 instead of the dots 12456 so that it can be entered in the braille grades 1 and 2 tables without conflict with the abbreviation of the word “هم” or with the mathematical arrows and geometric shapes in which the dots 12456 are used as a prefix.

The vertical slash sign “|”

The vertical slash sign was changed to 25-5 instead of 1245 to not conflict with the number 7 or the Latin letter G, and to be written using the braille grade 2 table without conflict with the abbreviation of the word “كان”.


Adding new signs to Arabic Braille that did not exist before

More than 120 new signs that did not previously exist in Arabic Braille have been added, and there are a variety of signs between mathematical, engineering, and computer. Below are some examples, but to get to know them in full, you can review the reference for the braille grade 1 table and the mathematical signs table:

  • Backslash “\” and its dots 36-45.
  • Tilde sign “~” and its dots 1234-45.
  • Paragraph sign “¶” and its dots 234-45.
  • Section sign “§” and its dots 234-45.
  • Registered sign “®” and its dots 1235-45-4.
  • Japanese yen sign “¥” and its dots 13456-4.
  • British pound sign “£” and its dots 123-4.
  • Euro sign “€” and its dots 15-4.
  • Trademark “™” and its dots 2345-45-4.
  • Degree sign “°” and its dots 245-45.
  • Micro sign “µ” and its dots 134-45-4.
  • Copyright sign “©” and its dots 14-45.
  • The dagger sign “†” and its dots 1456-6-4
  • The mathematical then sign “∴” and its dots 16-4.
  • Whereas mathematical sign “∵” and its dots 34-4.
  • The Union sign for sports groups “∪” and its dots 235-346.
  • For all mathematical sign “∀” and its dots 1-45.
  • The mathematical sign “much greater than” “≫” (Arabic) and its dots 35-4-4.
  • The mathematical sign “much less than” “≪” (Arabic) and its dots 35-6-6.

 Improvements to the Arabic table of the Liblouis software Library

The following is a reference to the most prominent developments made to the Arabic language tables at the Liblouis Library:

Braille Grade 1 Table:

The Braille Grade 1 Table is a simple literal table without abbreviations, and was the only table for the Arabic language by Liblouis library; the following was accomplished:

  • The reverse translation in the table has been fixed so that it became possible to enter Arabic Braille characters directly via the writing buttons on the braille devices.
  • Tens of computer, mathematical, and engineering icons that did not exist have been added. Some of these signs have been referred to in this article, and for a complete review of them, please refer to the Mathematical Signs Reference. It is noteworthy that these signs have been experimentally added, meaning that they are subject to change and modification according to the opinions of users and experts who will rely on the system.
  • The character/ letter sign to the input and output tables has been added, meaning that if a letter comes after the number that its dots contradict the dots of a number, the letter sign, which uses dots 56 will be added before the next character of the number. Likewise, if the user wants to type a letter after a number and this letter contradicts with a number, the user will have to enter the character/ letter sign.

Braille Grade 2 Table (Table of Abbreviations)

This table was created from scratch and included in the Liblouis Software Library. It relies on writing the Arabic language and displaying it in the system of abbreviations. All the Arabic abbreviations that were approved in the Arab Braille Conference in Riyadh in 2002 were included. The following are the most prominent developments that were introduced to the table:

  • The inclusion of basic mathematical and computer signs. Note: complex math signs not typed directly by the keyboard are not included in the table.
  • The addition of the grade 1 sign in the input and display modes. The grade 1 sign is the same as the letter sign – that is, the dots 65. It is written and displayed before the letter if it is an abstract letter and does not denote an abbreviation. For example, the letter “Ha’a” (ح) and its dots 651 is an abbreviation of the word “حتى” (even) but if we want to write the letter “ح” alone, the 56 dots should be placed before the letter.

8-Dot Computer Table

The computer table is a table based on the use of eight dots instead of six. The first computer-based Arabic table has been created and listed in the Liblouis Library.

This table includes Arabic letters and numbers, English letters and numbers, punctuation signs, and basic mathematical and computer signs. Please see the reference for the table for signs dots and how to write in English using the table.