Transliteration of Indian languages

John Clews Converse at SESAME.DEMON.CO.UK
Sat May 15 07:50:18 UTC 1999

VYAKARAN: South Asian Languages and Linguistics Net
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          John Peterson, University of Munich, Germany
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I am the chair of the International Organization for Standardization
subcommittee responsible for transliteration (ISO/TC46/SC2:
Conversion of Written Languages) which meets next week in Paris
(contact me directly, not by the list, for details). I would like to
send to you some information on Transliteration and Transcription of
Indic scripts.

Even when use of systems like Unicode and Windows 2000 is widespread,
some people will not be able to read most scripts other than their
own native ones: some basic/easy/standard transliteration/transformation
can provide for both the simplest and the most complex language
needs, which supplements full-script provision in Indic and other
non-Latin scripts.

There are various conventions, academic amd popular, for representing
Indic languages in transliteration, but no actual international
standard (in terms of an ISO standard specifying any of these
conventions) even though some schemes are internationally used.

With a lot of input from language experts in India and elsewhere,
a ISO Committee Draft has been issued for giving the status of an
International Standard to some of these schemes, in the draft standards
ISO CD 15919: Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts, and
ISO NP 15921: Generalized conversion methods, for academic and
popular conventions respectively, expanding these to cover all
scripts in use in official languages in India, Sri Lanka, and (in the
case of ISO NP 15921) also Divehi in the Thaana script, used in the
Maldives Republic.

As these are in the draft stage, comments are still possible, via
national standards bodies (member bodies of ISO) and liaison
organizations of ISO/TC46/SC2 for some time to come.

I am interested in encouraging additional participation via the ISO
national member bodies, from experts not already involved in this

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact me directly.

I look forward to hearing from some of you.

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews, SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
Email: Indic at;      telephone: +44 (0) 1423 888 432
Committee Chair:  ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages
Committee Member: CEN/TC304: European Localization Requirements
Committee Member: ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization
Committee Member: ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC2: Coded Character Sets

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