Reply To: Dash, Long Dash, Hyphen

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Julie Sumwalt


This seemed like a straightforward question until I started thinking and asking about it. The reason we are confused about the use of the long dash is because we have transcriber's discretion in this area. Here's the rundown:

  • There is no one-to-one, print-to-braille, definitive way of transcribing dashes. Use transcriber's discretion.
  • There are at least four different kinds of dashes used in print for various purposes.
  • The length of the print dash and its usage both play a part in the braille representation.
  • The en-dash is often transcribed as a hyphen, even if there are real hyphens elsewhere in the text.
  • The em-dash is often transcribed as a regular braille dash.
  • The long braille dash is used for the longest print dash if it is determined that there is a need for distinction from a regular dash, such as a 2-em or 3-em dash. An example might be that used in bibliographies when the author of multiple resources is represented with a 3-em dash.


So, you could do it this way:

Page 21: regular dash

Page 14: hyphen

Page 5: regular dash

Page 4: long dash

... or this way:

Page 21:hyphen

Page 14: hyphen

Page 5: hyphen

Page 4: regular dash


Either way is acceptable.

Braille on,