transliterating
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Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one
script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of handwriting) * Script (Unicode), historical and modern scripts as organis ...
to another that involves swapping
letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet), a written element of an alphabet * Letterform, a typographic term for alphabetical letter shapes * Rehearsal letter in an orchestral score Communication * L ...
(thus ''
trans- Trans- is a Latin prefix meaning "across", "beyond", or "on the other side of". Used alone, trans may refer to: Media * ''Trans'' (film), US film * Trans (Festival), a former festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom * Trans Corp, a ...
'' + ''
liter-
liter-
'') in predictable ways, such as Greek → , Cyrillic → , Greek → the digraph , Armenian → or Latin → . For instance, for the
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' ...
term "", which is usually
translated Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (which does not exist in every language) between ''transla ...

translated
as "
Hellenic Republic Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; Athens is its largest and capital city, followed ...

Hellenic Republic
", the usual transliteration to
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...

Latin script
is , and the name for
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
in
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
, "", is
usually A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. In a social context, a convention may retain the character of an "unwritten law" of custom (for ex ...
transliterated as . Transliteration is not primarily concerned with representing the
sounds In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and their ''perception'' by the b ...

sounds
of the original but rather with representing the characters, ideally accurately and unambiguously. Thus, in the Greek above example, is transliterated though it is pronounced , is transliterated though pronounced , and is transliterated , though it is pronounced (exactly like ) and is not
long Long may refer to: Measurement * Long, characteristic of something of great duration Duration may refer to: * The amount of Time#Terminology, time elapsed between two events * Duration (music) – an amount of time or a particular time interval, ...
. Conversely,
transcription Transcription refers to the process of producing a copy of something piece by small piece, including: Genetics * Transcription (biology), the copying of DNA into RNA, the first step in gene expression ** Bacterial transcription, the generation ...
notes the sounds rather than the orthography of a text. So "" could be transcribed as , which does not specify which of the sounds are written with the Greek letter and which with .
Angle brackets A bracket is either of two tall fore- or back-facing punctuation marks commonly used to isolate a segment of text or data from its surroundings. Typically deployed in symmetric pairs, an individual bracket may be identified as a ''left'' or ...
may be used to set off transliteration, as opposed to slashes for phonemic transcription and square brackets for phonetic transcription. Angle brackets may also be used to set off characters in the original script. Conventions and author preferences vary.


Definitions

Systematic transliteration is a
mapping Mapping may refer to: * Mapping (cartography), the process of making a map * Mapping (mathematics), a synonym for a mathematical function and its generalizations ** Mapping (logic), a synonym for functional predicate Types of mapping * Animated ...
from one system of writing into another, typically
grapheme In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...

grapheme
to grapheme. Most transliteration systems are
one-to-one One-to-one or one to one may refer to: Mathematics and communication *One-to-one function, also called an injective function *One-to-one correspondence, also called a bijective function *One-to-one (communication), the act of an individual commun ...
, so a reader who knows the system can reconstruct the original spelling. Transliteration is opposed to
transcription Transcription refers to the process of producing a copy of something piece by small piece, including: Genetics * Transcription (biology), the copying of DNA into RNA, the first step in gene expression ** Bacterial transcription, the generation ...
, which maps the ''
sounds In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and their ''perception'' by the b ...
'' of one
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
into a writing system. Still, most systems of transliteration map the letters of the source script to letters pronounced similarly in the target script, for some specific pair of source and target language. If the relations between letters and sounds are similar in both languages, a transliteration may be very close to a transcription. In practice, there are some mixed transliteration/transcription systems that transliterate a part of the original script and transcribe the rest. For many script pairs, there is one or more standard transliteration systems. However, unsystematic transliteration is common.


Difference from transcription

In Modern
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, the letters ⟨η⟩ ⟨ι⟩ ⟨υ⟩ and the letter combinations ⟨ει⟩ ⟨oι⟩ ⟨υι⟩ are pronounced (except when pronounced as
semivowel In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ever ...
s), and a modern transcription renders them all as ⟨i⟩; but a transliteration distinguishes them, for example by transliterating to ⟨ē⟩ ⟨i⟩ ⟨y⟩ and ⟨ei⟩ ⟨oi⟩ ⟨yi⟩. (As the ancient pronunciation of ⟨η⟩ was , it is often transliterated as an ⟨e⟩ with a macron, even for modern texts.) On the other hand, ⟨ευ⟩ is sometimes pronounced and sometimes , depending on the following sound. A transcription distinguishes them, but this is no requirement for a transliteration. The initial letter 'h' reflecting the historical
rough breathing In the polytonic orthography Greek orthographyThe orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean language, My ...
in words such as Ellēnikē should logically be omitted in transcription from
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
on, and from transliteration from 1982 on, but it is nonetheless frequently encountered.


Challenges

A simple example of difficulties in transliteration is the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
letter
qāf Qoph (Phoenician Qōp ) is the nineteenth letter of the Semitic abjads Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, an ...
. It is pronounced, in literary Arabic, approximately like English except that the tongue makes contact not on the
soft palate The soft palate (also known as the velum, palatal velum, or muscular palate) is, in mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origin ...
but on the
uvula The palatine uvula, usually referred to as simply the uvula, is a conic projection from the back edge of the middle of the soft palate The soft palate (also known as the velum, palatal velum, or muscular palate) is, in mammal Mammals (from ...

uvula
, but the pronunciation varies between different
dialects of Arabic The variety (linguistics), varieties (or dialects or vernacular languages) of Arabic, a Semitic languages, Semitic language within the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic family originating in the Arabian Peninsula, are the linguistic systems that ...
. The letter is sometimes transliterated into "g", sometimes into "q" and rarely even into "k" in English.Language log
/ref> Another example is the Russian letter "Х" (kha). It is pronounced as the
voiceless velar fricative The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain ho ...

voiceless velar fricative
, like the Scottish pronunciation of in "loch". This sound is not present in most forms of English and is often transliterated as "kh" as in
Nikita Khrushchev Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (– 11 September 1971) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 and as Premier of the Soviet Unio ...
. Many languages have phonemic sounds, such as
click consonant Click consonants, or clicks, are speech sounds that occur as consonants In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory ph ...
s, which are quite unlike any phoneme in the language into which they are being transliterated. Some languages and Writing system, scripts present particular difficulties to transcribers. These are discussed on separate pages. * Ancient Near East ** Transliterating cuneiform languages ** Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian (''see also'' Egyptian hieroglyphs) ** Hieroglyphic Luwian language, Luwian * Armenian language * Avestan language, Avestan * Brahmic family ** Devanagari: see Devanagari transliteration ** Pali ** Tocharian languages, Tocharian ** Malayalam: see Romanization of Malayalam * Chinese language ** Transcription into Chinese characters ** Romanization of Chinese ** Cyrillization of Chinese * Click consonant, Click languages of Africa ** Khoisan languages ** Bantu languages * English language ** Hebraization of English * Greek language ** Romanization of Greek ** Greek alphabet ** Linear B ** Greeklish * Japanese language ** Romanization of Japanese ** Cyrillization of Japanese * Khmer language ** Romanization of Khmer * Korean language ** Romanization of Korean * Persian language ** Persian alphabet *** Tajik alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet *** Romanization of Persian *** Fingilish, Persian chat alphabet * Semitic languages ** Ugaritic alphabet ** Hebrew alphabet *** Romanization of Hebrew ** Arabic alphabet *** Romanization of Arabic *** Arabic chat alphabet * Slavic languages written in the Cyrillic script, Cyrillic or Glagolitic alphabets ** Romanization of Belarusian ** Romanization of Bulgarian ** Romanization of Russian ** Romanization of Macedonian ** Romanization of Serbian ** Romanization of Ukrainian ** Volapuk encoding * Thai language ** Romanization of Thai * Urdu language, Urdu Language **Romanization of Urdu


Adopted

* Buckwalter transliteration * Devanagari transliteration * Hans Wehr transliteration * International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration * Scientific transliteration of Cyrillic * Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian * Transliterations of Manchu * Wylie transliteration


See also

* Cyrillization * International Components for Unicode *
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...

Latin script
* List of ISO transliterations * Orthographic transcription * Phonemic orthography * Phonetic transcription * Romanization * Spread of the Latin script * Substitution cipher * Transcription (linguistics)


References


External links


International Components for Unicode transliteration services


– history of the transliteration of Slavic languages into Latin alphabets.
Transliteration of Non-Latin scripts
– Collection of transliteration tables for many non-Latin scripts maintained by Thomas T. Pedersen.


United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN)
– working group on Romanization Systems.
Library of Congress: Romanization Tables

Localtyping.com
implements google transliteration library and also allows to create To-Do Lists in English and Transliterated Languages.
onlinemarathityping.com
Use Google transliteration for easy typing.
Usage of Transliterations
– condensed description of the definition of transliteration and its usage. * G. Gerych
Transliteration of Cyrillic Alphabets.
Ottawa University, April 1965. 126 pp. – historical overview of the concept of transliteration and its evolution and application {{Authority control Transliteration,