ASCII-ization (was Re: Glyphs of new Unicode 3.0 symbols)

From: Edward Cherlin (
Date: Thu Nov 26 1998 - 19:25:54 EST

At 12:36 PM -0800 11/25/98, Mark Davis wrote:
>There are a few different applications for transliteration.

Well, of course. I *said* I had been using a variety of romanizations
myself. My point is only that there can be no _standard_ romanization of
any language satisfactory to everyone--not even the speakers of one other
language, much less the world community. Besides, if we start on that, we
can't stop until we can render all of Unicode in Cyrillic, Arabic, Zhuyin
(Bopomofo), Japanese kana, and Devanagari, at least. We Latinates can't
assign ourselves a privileged position in these matters.

Another issue: should the preferred ASCII-ization of U+4E00 be

yi1 Chinese putonghua, Pinyin
i1 Chinese p'ut'unghua, Wade-Giles
il Korean, ROK standard romanization
iti Japanese, On, Yale romanization
ichi Japanese, On, Hepburn romanization
hitotu Japanese, Kun, Yale romanization
hitotsu Japanese, Kun, Hepburn romanization

or what?

>One is to
>have an alternate reading, so that if I am looking at a database with
>foreign names in it, I can choose a view whereby I get *some* notion
>of what their names would look like in a romanization.

Of course you are correct in asking for romanization of foreign names or
texts in a globalized application, but ask the developers, not the Unicode
standard, for something appropriate. The romanization used has to be
application-specific, since it will depend on the language of the material
and the preferred language of the user.

In a mixed list of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names, such as the Go
database of international competitions and top-ranked players, your
proposal for a single standard romanization fails the laugh test. In the
recently completed Japanese Meijin (ming2ren2, myeongin, Illustrious
Person) challenge match, the Korean title holder beat the Chinese winner of
the international Meijin challengers tournament. Which romanization would
you use to approximate the names involved?

For even more fun, try romanizing the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese
approximations of each others' names in CJK, Katakana, and Hangeul.
"Kobayashi" in Japanese (literally, Littlewood) becomes khopayashi in one
romanization of hangeul, or ko2ba1ya1xi3 in pinyin of one possible
Sinicization. Of course the Chinese are more likely to read the name
directly as Xiao3lin2.)

I am currently working on a terminology database for the game of go in
Chinese, Korean, Japanese and English, i.e. such Romanized entries as

wei2qi2 Chinese
baduk Korean
wigi Korean
igo Japanese
go English

to accompany the entries in Hanzi (Traditional Chinese and Simplified
Chinese), Zhuyin, Hanja, Hangeul, Kana, and Kanji+Kana.

>This doesn't imply that transliteration is a replacement for the
>original names in the original script--but as an adjunct it is quite
>useful, and we get many inquiries about it.
>---Edward Cherlin <> wrote:
>> NO WAY.
>>The world community does not accept transliterations, romanizations, or
>>ASCIIizations designed by and for English speakers without a fight, and
>>they are quite right not to do so.

Edward Cherlin                        President
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