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Re: Transliteration [and transcription]: replies to J Rosenne

From: John Clews <Converse@sesame.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 07:27:43 GMT
Message-Id: <17784@sesame.demon.co.uk>
To: rosenne@NetVision.net.il
Cc: manuel.carrasco@emea.eudra.org, i18n@dkuug.dk, xojig@xopen.co.uk, sc22wg14@dkuug.dk, www-international@w3.org, wgi18n@terena.nl, keld@dkuug.dk
Re Email 1.

In message <3.0.1.32.19971120071929.006b9358@mail.netvision.net.il>
Jonathan Rosenne writes:

> At 15:07 19/11/97 GMT, John Clews wrote:
> >Transliteration and transcription should be distinguished in this
> >discussion on language codes and script codes. Most people initially
> >confuse the two.
> > - Transliteration is representing characters from one script by the
> >   characters of another script.
> > - Transcription is representing the sounds of one language by the
> >   characters associated with those sounds in another language.
> >   The source language and target language might or might not use the
> >   same script.
> 
> To my knowledge, transliteration is representing the sounds. Anyway, this
> is the meaning I use.

Sorry - this is a wrong description.

ISO standards have existed in this area since the beginnings of ISO -
ISO 9 Transliteration of Russian is the earliest.

The same definitions (possibly more verbose) for transcription and
transliteration are used consistently in all ISO standards. They're
also applied in Hans Wellisch's book on The conversion of scripts
(Wiley, 1989).

> I don't think that this day and age there is much need for "representing
> characters from one script by the characters of another script", not after
> we have ISO 10646.

Despite computing standards like ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode, there
will always be a need for transliteration as long as people do not
have the same level of competence in all scripts besides the script
used in their mother-tongue, and may have a need to deal with these
languages, or when they have to deal with mechanical or computerised
equipment which does not provide all the scripts of characters that
they need.

People need it, whatever computers provide.

> Even if there are such local needs, I cannot see why they should be
> standardized.

Why then bother to standardise anything? Why then bother to
standardise anything to do with computers?

The same reasons apply to both computers and transliteration: users
benefit from the availability of single agreed options, rather than a
multiplicity of different icompatiblle approaches.

> Jonathan
> 

-- 
Chair of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages;
Member of CEN/TC304: Character Set Technology;
Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC2: Character Sets.

SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Road, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, England
Email: Converse@sesame.demon.co.uk;        tel: +44 (0) 1423 888 432


Re email 2.
In message <3.0.1.32.19971119221217.006a68a8@mail.netvision.net.il> Jonathan Rosenne writes:
> At 03:20 19/11/97 -0500, Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no wrote:
> >Is there a difference between Hebrew transliterated into French and
> >Hebrew transliterated into English?
> 
> Into English: Dagesh         Tsfat or Tzfat
> Into French:  Daguech        Tsfat
> Into German:  Dagesch        Zvat

This is transcription, not transliteration. Transliteration is text
transformed from one script to another. Please see any ISO standard
or any book on this issue.

The following makes sense:

   Is there a difference between Hebrew transcribed into French and
   Hebrew transcribed into English?

The followwing does not make sense:

   Is there a difference between Hebrew transliterated into Latin and
   Hebrew transliterated into Latin?

>
> >In Serbian text transliterated between cyrillic and Latin script, which
> >one (if any) is the transliteration?
> 
> Neither
> 
> Jonathan

Of course it is transliteration. Whichever is the source script is
the text you start with, whichever is the target script is the other.

I repeat: transliteration is script to script. Your discussions in
this area will make no sense unless they take note of this
difference.

Best wishes

John Clews

-- 
Chair of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages;
Member of CEN/TC304: Character Set Technology;
Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC2: Character Sets.

SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Road, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, England
Email: Converse@sesame.demon.co.uk;        tel: +44 (0) 1423 888 432
Received on Thursday, 20 November 1997 03:46:28 GMT

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