Dash, Long Dash, Hyphen

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    Regarding the portions highlighted in green in the attached pdf, the following is how I interpret RUEB concerning when to use long dashes, dashes and hyphens (in particular 7.2.4):

    1. On page 4: long dash in braille
    2. On page 5 and 21: dash in braille
    3. On page 14: hyphen in braille

    Perhaps I've misunderstood when to use the long dash, but the above seems to be what is indicated in RUEB 7.2.4 since print shows three distinct punctuation signs, each of which is used differently. Prior to UEB, we would have inferred from the context when to use the dash or the hyphen, so perhaps I'm still biased to that practice. But it seems that using the two different dashes in cases like this may make it unnecessarily complicated. (This could be of particular concern when brailling a large book in which the transcriber doesn't encounter the second type of dash in print until quite late in the book.)

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts/guidance.

    Thank you.


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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,



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