Re: writing in an alphabet with fewer letters: letter replacements

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 21:36:24 +0200

It seems that each country metting a passport has its own national rules
for transliterating people names on passports. They will display the
national alphabet, just extended with some national transliteration rules
for other alphabets (to Basic Latin with few extensions, or using just
letters of Latin alphabets commonly used in regional languages; in Japan or
China, they could possibly use the simplified bopomofo alphabet or kana
syllabaries), or they will ask to people to define and register their own
transliteration in the national registry.

Passports also contain other transliterated items, such as toponyms and
country names (but countries are also encoded or shown at least in English;
European passports contain a few static preprinted texts in a dozen of
languages, using Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets for the national
languages; but not everything is translated). They contain also dates and
numbers, using Western Arabic digits. But official seals will display

I have absolutely no information about what is encoded in the machine
readable part of my passport, or in accompanying leaflets or stickers
applied on it like visas, or if this data is updated when crossing a
border. But I know that this data contains now some biometric data (more to
come) and a digitally signed photograph and personal signature (the content
of this data is subject to changes, notably because of US demands, some
travelers need a new accompanying form added to their existing passport for
travelling to US or via US, that they'll get when requesting a visa, some
old passports are also refused and need to be changed). Not everything is
in the passport, and travel agencies will also request other information
that will be transmitted before authorizing the trip.

My opinion is that there's no stable standard, countries are changing their
rules every year by mutual negociations or additional national restrictions
or after special international events (they will inform the travel
agencies). Travelers should be informed by travel agencies about the
procedures for visas and their scope (if the visas or national identity
cards are valid across multiple countries within a free travel area whose
member countries apply the same rules).

Some day will come where some countries will request ADN identification
data realized in the origin country and certified by its approved national
labs, or will take sealed ADN samples when entering their country (for
short touristic trips, it may be analyzed later if the person does not
leave the country after expiration of the visa or does not take his return
flight sold by the travel agency, to save costs of labs analysis in the
visited country). But digitaly signed biometric data or photos are
completely out of scope of Unicode.

2013/7/5 Richard Wordingham <>

> On Thu, 04 Jul 2013 22:19:11 -0700
> Stephan Stiller <> wrote:
> > Hi folks,
> >
> > For languages whose alphabets aren't too far apart (I'm thinking
> > mostly of the set of Latin-derived alphabets), what is a good place
> > for finding out how letter replacements for letters that are missing
> > in a different country/locale are done?
> A good source might be the rules for the name in the first line of the
> 'machine readable passports'. Unfortunately, a quick hunt on the
> internet failed to find any such rules.
> Richard.
Received on Fri Jul 05 2013 - 14:39:55 CDT

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