RE: Looking for transcription or transliteration standards latin- >arabic

From: Jony Rosenne (
Date: Fri Jul 09 2004 - 00:08:30 CDT

  • Next message: Jony Rosenne: "RE: Looking for transcription or transliteration standards latin- >arabic"

    Transcription is useful and necessary, transliteration less so.

    When transcribing from, for example, Czech , into English, we should not be
    mislead by the fact that in Unicode both use the Latin script. In fact,
    Czech uses the Czech script (= writing system, in this case), and English
    uses the English script. The Czech script includes letter-diacritic
    combinations that are not part of the English script or maybe have a
    different meaning. To the English or American reader who does not know Czech
    they are incomprehensible, so he relies on transcription. The purpose of
    transcription is to copy the word into the English script.

    If the reader, or all intended readers, are comfortable with the Czech
    script then transcription is not necessary.

    The situation is only slightly different from Russian to English
    transcription. It appears to be different because the Russian script looks

    Now that we have moved from the world of typewriters, that imposed technical
    constraints on the writer, such as being able to use only the limited set of
    characters implemented, to the world of Unicode which removes this
    constraint, transliteration is no longer needed or useful. Transliteration
    is a one-to-one mapping between scripts, and the reader needs to be familiar
    with both scripts and the transliteration rules to make sense of it.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
    > Sent: Friday, July 09, 2004 1:13 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: RE: Looking for transcription or transliteration
    > standards latin- >arabic
    > At 14:57 -0700 2004-07-08, Mike Ayers wrote:
    > >When transcribing to English, however, removal of the caron (macron?
    > >Apologies, but I tend to forget the names of most accents) would be
    > >most acceptable (for American English, at least).
    > NOT in good typography, ever.
    > >It gave me some insight into the European view of diacritics, which
    > >is very different from mine. For instance, it seems that diacritics
    > >have similar effects on vowels, and that those vowels have similar
    > >sounds both before and after modification, across most (all?)
    > >European languages - am I reading correctly here?
    > Not really. Diacritics may affect the quantity of a vowel, the
    > quality of a vowel, or simply indicate something about a word's
    > history.
    > I think it's stupid (in general) to argue for stripping a letter of
    > diacritics. If a reader is ignorant of their meaning, that can be
    > cured. But if they are meaningful, stripping them is just misspelling
    > the words they belong to. Why would anyone want to do that?
    > --
    > Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * *

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