Russian transliteration

Yesterday I came across a useful site that shows you how to transliterate Russian into various Latin transliteration systems, and into other alphabets such as Greek, Arabic, Thai and Georgian. The site also has an transliterator that transliterates Russian text into various transliteration systems; a transliterator that converts Chinese Pinyin texts into Cyrillic, and another that converts Japanese text in Hiragana or Katakana in Cyrillic.

Here are some example transliterations of the Russian version of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Original Russian text
Все люди рождаются свободными и равными в своем достоинстве и правах. Они наделены разумом и совестью и должны поступать в отношении друг друга в духе братства.

German transliteration
Wse ljudi roschdajutsja swobodnymi i rawnymi w swojem dostoinstwe i prawach. Oni nadeleny rasumom i sowest’ju i dolschny postupat’ w otnoschenii drug druga w duche bratstwa.

Greek transliteration
Βσγιε λγιουντι ροζνταγιουτσγια σβομποντνιμι ι ραβνιμι β σβογιεμ ντοστοινστβγιε ι πραβαχ. Ονι ναντγιελγιενι ραζουμομ ι σοβγιεστ’γιου ι ντολζνι ποστουπατ’ β οτνοσγιενι ντρουγκ ντρουγκα β ντουχγιε μπρατστβα.

Georgian transliteration
ვსე ლიუდი როჟდაიუტსია სვობოდნიმი ი რავნიმი ვ სვოემ დოსტოინსტვე ი პრავახ. ონი ნადელენი რაზუმომ ი სოვესტიუ ი დოლჟნი პოსტუპატ ვ ოტნოშენი დრუგ დრუგა ვ დუხე ბრატსტვა.

Another feature of the site is a dictionary of Russian slang, which is available in many language combinations.

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This entry was posted in Language, Writing.

15 Responses to Russian transliteration

  1. Daniel says:

    The ‘transliteration’ of the letters into Hebrew there is just the letter names.
    Also, the proposed transliteration does not represent the pronunciation accurately (for example, “Все” would be more accurately transliterated in German as “Vsje”, I think).
    However, it’s a really cool site :)

  2. prase says:

    “Все” rendered as “vsje” or “fsje” would be a transcription rather than a transliteration.

  3. Podolsky says:

    Persian is also, just like Hebrew, transliteration of letter names; it cannot be used for transliterating words.

  4. TJ says:

    I didn’t try the site yet, but I know in Arabic we don’t have the “V” and the susbstitute for that is either by using the letter “Fa'” (which is F of course), or “Waw” which is used for long vowel “ú” or as “W,” and in Farsi the “W” letter is used as a “V” already. In the press, sometimes it is feasilbe to use a made-up letter (which I think it is used some where in Asia) resemling a “F” with 3 dots above. This letter is presumed as a “V” sometimes.

    Other sounds that might be in Russian but not in Arabic also include:
    Г
    Ж
    Ч

    and the case of representing those is just a matter of the style of the writer.
    There are on the other hand some sounds that are represented by one letter in Russian (and German) but for an Arabic speaker it would be thought of as two sounds pressed together, like “TS” and “Sh-Ch.”

  5. Charles says:

    Thank you for your appreciation.

    Concerning Hebrew and Farsi I would gladly correct the table, but I would need some help. Does anyone feel qualified?

  6. Roy says:

    Hebrew transliteration would be as follows. It might not be accurate though. Read from right to left

    וסה ליודי רוז’דיוציה סוובודימי אי ראוונימי ו סווים דוסטואינסטוויה אי פראוואח. אוני נאדאלני ראסומום אי סוווסט’יו אי דולז’ני פוסטופאט’ ו אוטנושני דרוג דרוגה ו דוז’ה בראטסטווה.

  7. Roy says:

    It is interesting to mention by the way that I know about this great site (Omniglot) since 2006, when I did my MA dissertation on the problems involved in the transliteration of Hebrew to the Latin script in library catalogues. It was submitted to the university of Brighton that year. I know that the owner of this site, Simon, lives or used to live in Brighton. Thank Goodness there is now Unicode and we no longer need to transliterate scripts in library catalogues.

  8. Charles says:

    Roy, I was actually thinking more in the direction of a list of equivalence and a set of additional rules in order to have an automatic transliteration. Maybe you can contact me by email (it’s on my site).

  9. Podolsky says:

    There are a few mistakes in Roy’s Hebrew transliteration.
    Anyway I don’t think there is much sense in such transliteration table. You can’t transliterate correctly unless you know the language. How would you transliterate the English words “wind”: [wind] or [waind]?
    “read” [ri:d] or [red]? Similar cases can be brought for French and Russian, e.g. сел can be [sel] “he sat down’ or [syol] plural genitive of село ‘village’.

  10. Charles says:

    I’ve been looking at Hebrew (and yiddish since it uses vocals standardly) and put together a transliteration into Hebrew on http://www.russki-mat.net/trans2.html (at the bottom of the page).

    I’m afraid it might be gibberish, the left-to-right to right-to-left might be too much for my computer skills – can you comment and help improve it?

  11. Simon, there is a reason you run the internet’s best language website. Brilliant find, cheers.

  12. Roy says:

    Podolsky, I know there are mistakes in my transliteration. I don’t know Russian and I did it just for fun.

    Charles, I tried your link and the transliteration is into Yiddish, not Hebrew. I can’t help much with devising a transliteration table from Russian to Hebrew but I’m sure you can find something on the net or in good dictionaries.

  13. Vacker says:

    You should be able to create a Hebrew transliteration from this table at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_phonology#Regional_and_historical_variation

    The vowels are trickier, this page should help there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikkud

    Also with the vowels, the fourth page of this transliteration guide should help: http://hebrew-academy.huji.ac.il/PDF/taatiq2007.pdf

  14. Charles says:

    I’ve worked a bit and now I have something in Yiddish (which I understand was working correctly) and Hebrew, but vocals are still a pain in the neck. I guess it’s roughly correct, but I’m not quite sure wether I should put vocals only as diacritical marks or as aleph + diacritical marks.

    It’s rather all the same to me, unfortunately.

  15. Roy says:

    Charles, if you want the transliteration to look more like modern Hebrew there is a need to use the “vocal letters” with or without their vocalisation points. Otherwise it looks archaic and unreadable. Also, when a word ends with the vowel “a” (as in bratstva) it’s better to use the Hebrew letter He (the fifth letter of the alphabet) rather than Alef after that vowel, so it won’t look Yiddishy or old fashioned. The letter Nun needs to be corrected. You use a final Nun (which looks like a long line that ends underneath the writing line) instead of a middle Nun. One should use final letters only in end of words. As for the letter Bet – I would use it only to render the sound of B. For the sound of V I would use double Vav, though Bet could be used your way too, but that could be confusing. See my transliteration above. It looks more like modern Hebrew and thus more coherent to Israelis. Hope it helps. Roy