RE: Unicode Transliteration Guidelines released

From: Richard Ishida (
Date: Mon Jan 21 2008 - 09:33:34 CST

  • Next message: Richard Ishida: "RE: Unicode Transliteration Guidelines released"

    I was surprised to see that this munges together the terms and concepts of
    transcription and transliteration[1][2]. As I read through the document I
    kept changing my mind about whether this is about one or the other. The
    guidelines expend some effort on discussing the needs of reversible text,
    but don't appear to disallow non-reversible transcriptions, and some of the
    systems you provide for (eg. Korean) provide transcriptions rather than

    (I understand that in a technical sense, transliteration is distinguished
    from transcription by being reversible, ie. allowing you to exactly
    reconstruct the original sequence from the transliterated sequence.)

    I think the document should start out with clear definitions that
    distinguish these two approaches, since it is very useful to apply the term
    transliteration in a very specific technical sense here.

    If you are describing guidelines for transcription and/or transliteration, I
    would change the title and early on describe transliteration as a special
    thing, and make it clearer where guidelines and commentary refer to one or
    the other. I would also include stronger text about the benefits of each,
    and how to decide which you want.

    If you are actually describing a mechanism intended for transliterations, in
    the narrow sense, I suggest that after the para that starts "Transliteration
    is not translation... " You add another para that starts "Transliteration
    is not transcription..." and at least introduces the key difference (though
    it could point down the page for more details and examples), and then
    throughout the document be stricter about disallowing any approach that
    would introduce non-reversibility.


    See Wikipedia definitions:

    Richard Ishida
    Internationalization Lead
    W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of Rick McGowan
    > Sent: 19 January 2008 16:58
    > To:
    > Subject: Unicode Transliteration Guidelines released
    > The Unicode CLDR committee has released
    > "Unicode Transliteration Guidelines":
    > Regards,
    > Rick McGowan
    > Unicode, Inc.

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