Transliteration

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Transliteration is the writing or spelling of words or letters in another alphabet. It is sometimes called romanized phonetic transcription. If you need to write a non-Roman alphabet in the Roman (Latin) alphabet, we have four fonts specifically designed for this purpose, and several others that may be helpful to you. Our original transliteration font is LaserTransliterator, which allows the writing of over 130 Roman-based languages, plus transliteration of most of the world's languages. LaserTransliterator has the English alphabet plus many overstriking diacritics which may be placed over (and/or under) any other letter in combination with other diacritics. We also have three specialized transliteration fonts. Semitic Transliterator, available both in Unicode and non-Unicode encodings, is designed for transliteration of Semitic languages (including Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian, and Ugaritic) and Coptic and Greek. Our other specialized transliteration font, TransIndic Transliterator, also available in Unicode and non-Unicode encodings, is designed especially for transliteration of Indian subcontinent languages (both northern India and southern India), such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Telugu.

The non-Unicode version of Semitic Transliterator uses composite characters (letters preformed with their accents) instead of overstriking accents, as used in LaserTransliterator. This narrows the number of character combinations available in the font, and therefore the number of languages potentially covered, but insures the accents are perfectly aligned over the characters. The non-Unicode version of TransIndic Transliterator uses a combination of overstriking and composite characters. Note that with overstriking accents, if diacritics with multiple widths are not available, some diacritics may not be perfectly centered over all narrow, medium, and wide characters. For example, an overstriking macron ( ), designed to place over an m (a wide character), will not center over an i (a narrow character). Furthermore, when typing justified text, overstriking accents may be pulled slightly off-center by your word processor as it attempts to "spread out" the characters on a line. So, with LaserTransliterator, you gain flexibility, the ability to create many more transliteration characters than are covered by standard transliteration methods, and the character sets of over 130 languages. With Semitic Transliterator you gain guaranteed perfect placement for all accents, but a narrower, more focused character set.

The Unicode versions of Semitic Transliterator and TransIndic Transliterator include preformed composite letters with accents, assuring the diacritics are always perfectly positioned over/under the letters. These fonts also include OpenType layout features, a new technology that allows greater typographic control over positioning of diacritics. This allows multiple diacritics to be stacked and positioned automatically, and also provides more intuitive input order. However, to make use of Unicode fonts and their OpenType features requires use of a narrow range of compatible software. (See the System Requirements on each of the product pages for details.)

For transliteration of Chinese, we recommend our LaserYukon and LaserYukon in Unicode products, which support the Athapaskan languages of Canada and the southwestern United States (Navajo). The diacritics used in the Athapaskan languages are also used by several methods of Chinese transliteration. For transliteration of Japanese, which requires macrons, you should look at LaserMacron. You may also want to consider TransRoman, TransSlavic, Semitic Transliterator (Unicode or non-Unicode), TransIndic Transliterator (Unicode or non-Unicode), or LaserYukon (Unicode or non-Unicode), but not LaserTransliterator.

You may also want to look at our TransRoman and TransSlavic fonts, which focus on western and eastern European languages, respectively, but which have, like LaserTransliterator, the character sets for more than 130 languages. These fonts make use of a large number of overstriking diacritics which may be placed over/under any other letter in the font.

So, for transliteration of Semitic languages (including Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, and Ugaritic) and Coptic and Greek, we recommend Semitic Transliterator in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding. For Indian subcontinent languages, such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Telugu, we recommend TransIndic Transliterator in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding. For Chinese, we recommend LaserYukon in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding. For Japanese, we recommend LaserMacron or TransRoman, TransSlavic, Semitic Transliterator in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding, TransIndic Transliterator in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding, or LaserYukon in either a Unicode or non-Unicode encoding. For all other languages, we recommend LaserTransliterator. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us. We will be happy to advise you.

 

 

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