Transliteration and Transcription
Let's think about transliteration
, both relevant to this thread. First notice that each of these actions stays within the context of the source language, whereas translation
moves from the source language to a target language. With transliteration
, text in the source script is converted to text in another script, in a way which is intended to faithfully represent the original source text, so that a reverse trans-literation should be able to take the final text and use it to accurately recover the source text in its original script. With transcription
, or more explicitly, phonetic transcription
, text in the source language is converted to text in a phonetic script, intended to faithfully represent the spoken version of the source text. If read aloud, the transcription is intended to faithfully represent the way a native speaker would read aloud the original source text.
is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another
that involves substituting letters (thus trans- + liter-) in predictable ways, such as Greek ⟨α⟩ → ⟨a⟩, Cyrillic ⟨д⟩ → ⟨d⟩, Greek ⟨χ⟩ → the digraph ⟨ch⟩, Armenian ⟨ն⟩ → ⟨n⟩ or Latin ⟨æ⟩ → ⟨ae⟩.
For instance, for the Modern Greek term "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία", which is usually translated as "Hellenic Republic", the usual transliteration to Latin [Roman] script is ⟨Ellēnikḗ Dēmokratía⟩. The name for Russia in Cyrillic script, "Россия", is usually transliterated as ⟨Rossija⟩.
is not primarily concerned with representing the sounds of the original but rather with representing the characters, ideally accurately and unambiguously. Thus, in the Greek above example, ⟨λλ⟩ is transliterated ⟨ll⟩ though it is pronounced [ l ], ⟨Δ⟩ is transliterated ⟨D⟩ though pronounced [ ð ], and ⟨η⟩ is transliterated ⟨ē⟩, though it is pronounced [ i ], exactly like ⟨ι⟩, and is not long.
[On the other hand] transcription
notes the sounds rather than the orthography of a text. So "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία" could be transcribed as [elinikí ðimokratía], which does not specify which of the [ i ] sounds are written with the Greek letter ⟨η⟩ and which with ⟨ι⟩.
may be used to set off transliteration
, as opposed to slashe
s and square brackets
for phonetic transcription
Angle brackets may also be used for the set of characters in the original script. Conventions and author preferences vary.
a language from one script to another, or transcribing
it in a phonetic script, are serious undertakings, not to be undertaken lightly or without considerable knowledge, experience and careful developmental work. How apt is the target script? Can it be reproduced readily by letterpress or typographically or electronically? Does it really represent the full range of graphemes or phonemes, as required? Is it unambiguous? Is it graphically elegant? Is it robust, so that two different people will produce the same end-product from a given initial text? And so on.
International Phonetic Alphabet = IPA
In 1886 the French linguist Paul Passy
, with a group of French and British language teachers, initiated work to create a phonetic alphabet. From 1897 the group adopted the name l'Association phonétique internationale
(the International Phonetic Association). Their original alphabet was based on the Romic alphabet, a proposed spelling reform for English. Eventually the character set was modified and extended to represent, in principle, every phoneme in any human language. Today that is the International Phonetic Alphabet.
The International Phonetic Alphabet = IPA
is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin [Roman] alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardised representation of the sounds of spoken language.
The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators and translators.
The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes, intonation and the separation of words and syllables...
IPA symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types, letters and diacritics. The sound of the English letter ⟨t⟩ , for example, may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter [t], or with a letter plus diacritic, such as [t̺ʰ], depending on how precise one wishes to be. Often, slashes are used to signal broad or phonemic transcription. Thus /t/ is less specific than [t̺ʰ] or [t], , and could refer to either, depending on the context and language.
Occasionally letters or diacritics are added, removed or modified by the International Phonetic Association (*). As of the most recent change in 2005, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics and four prosodic marks in the IPA.
: Extensions to the IPA for speech pathology
were created in 1990. In 1994 they were adopted by the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association.
Transliteration of Indian languages which use Devanagari script
Several adaptations of the Latin [Roman] alphabet have been devised for transliteration of Devanagari script. Their use is sometimes called romanisation
. The most important and most used of these is the lossless IAST notation.
Wikipedia wrote: International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration = IAST
is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romaniSation of Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is based on a scheme that emerged during the nineteenth century from suggestions by Charles Trevelyan, William Jones, Monier Monier-Williams and other scholars, and formalised by the Transliteration Committee of the Geneva Oriental Congress, in September 1894. IAST makes it possible for the reader to read the Indic text unambiguously, exactly as if it were in the original Indic script. It is this faithfulness to the original scripts that accounts for its continuing popularity amongst scholars.
Devanagari characters and corresponding IAST characters
Devanagari vowels (stand alone and diacritic forms) and codas
The diacritics used for IAST allow capitalisation. The capital variants of letters never occurring word-initially (Ṇ Ṅ Ñ Ṝ) are useful only when writing in all-caps.
Transliteration examples: Devanagari script to IAST
Let us take texts from https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=90529&start=384
Diacritics —> separated ligatures, stand-alone vowels —> IAST
श्री —> श र ई —> ś r ī —> śrī
एकलिङ्गजी —> ए क ल इ ङ् ग ज ई —> e k l i ṅ g j ī —> ekliṅgjī
Capitalised IAST text
जो दृढ़ रकखे धर्म को. तिहिं रकखे करतार।
Diacritics —> separated ligatures, stand-alone vowels —> IAST characters
जो —> ज ओ —> j o —> jo
दृढ़ —> द ऋ ढ़ अ —> d ṛi ṛh a —> dṛiṛha
रकखे —> र अ क ख ए —> r a k kh e —> rakkhe
धर्म —> ध अ र् म अ —> dh a r m a —> dharma
को —> क ओ —> k o —> ko
तिहिं —> त इ ह इ ँ —> t i h i ˜ —> tihĩ
करतार —> क अ र त आ र —> k a r t ā r —> kartār
Capitalised IAST characters
Jo dṛiṛha rakkhe Dharma ko,
Tihĩ rakkhe kartār.