ISO TC 46: Information and documentation

WG 3: Conversion of written languages

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The following is a short glossary of terms used in ISO standards on transliteration and romanization.

conversion – representing graphic characters from a source script by the graphic characters of a target script, most commonly by romanization. The two basic methods of conversion of a system of writing are transliteration and transcription. The use of the terms source script and target script in transliteration is analogous to the terms source language and target language in translation.

graphic character – character (other than a control character) that has a visual representation, normally handwritten, printed or displayed. A graphic character is a single element of a script. Examples are letters, conjunct characters, numerical digits, punctuation marks or diacritical marks.

reverse transliteration – process whereby the characters of a target script are transliterated into those of the source script.

romanization – conversion of non-Latin graphic characters into Latin graphic characters, using either transliteration or transcription.

script – set of graphic characters used for the written form of one or more languages.

transcription – representation of the sounds of a source language by graphic characters associated with a target language. Cf. transliteration.

transliteration – representation of the graphic characters of a source script by the graphic characters of a target script. Cf. transcription. In transcription, pronunciation conventions are of primary importance, while in transliteration, writing conventions are of primary importance. See also reverse transliteration.

Opened: 2015-06-18
Updated: 2014-05-10