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Frequently Asked Questions


Can you tell me how to write my name in ...?

Please see the your name in... links page.

Please note that there is a difference between translating a name and transliterating a name. The former involves finding the meaning of the name and then trying to find a name with the same or a similar meaning in another language. The latter involves using a different writing system to represent the sounds of the name.

For example the name Anna comes from the Hebrew name חַנָּה (Hannah), which means "favor" or "grace". Transliterations of Anna in other writing systems include Άννα (Greek), Анна (Cyrillic), Աննա (Armenian), ანა (Georgian), حنة (Arabic), and アナ (Japanese Katakana).

Names with similar meanings to Anna, i.e. translations, include Amara (Igbo), Armo (Finnish), فضل (Fadl - Arabic), लावण्या (Lavanya - Sanskrit), and سناز (Sanaz - Persian).

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Can you translate this word/phrase/sentence into...?

Sorry, I can't help you as I'm not a translator. I do speak some languages, but certainly not all the ones on this site, and being able to speak a language doesn't mean that you can translate into/from it.

Please post your translation requests on the Omniglot Facebook page - there are thousands of people there who can help.

If you would like a translation for a tattoo, I recommend that you ask an experienced translator, and check the translation with a native speaker of the language in question.

Many English words have multiple meanings, and in other languages there might be different words for each meaning. So it helps to be as precise as possible about the meaning you're trying to convey, especially for individual words.

Here are some places you can try for transliterations and translations into other languages and writing systems:

Multilingual Translation
http://www.freelang.net/translation/
http://help.berberber.com/free-translation-forums/
http://www.oasisllc.com/transtrad/forum.htm
http://ackuna.com/

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Thai
http://www.tattoos-by-design.co.uk

"Ask the Experts" - contact details of people willing and able to answer questions about a wide range of languages: http://www.carla.umn.edu/lctl/resources/experts.html

Online translation sites | Online dictionaries | Electronic dictionaries and translators

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Can you help me find a translator/interpreter?

Unfortunately I cannot help you as I don't maintain a database of translators and cannot recommend any translators or interpreters.

Please try posting your translation requests on:
www.translatorstown.com
www.proz.com
www.translatorsbase.com

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How can I register with Omniglot as a translator?

Sorry, you can't - there is no Omniglot database of translators, and I cannot offer you any work, so please do not send me your CV.

There are databases of translators at: www.translatorstown.com, www.proz.com and www.translatorsbase.com

If you are a translator, interpreter or work with languages in some other capacity, please consider submitting an article to my language-related articles section.

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Can you decipher this mysterious/unknown bit of writing?

Please post your requests on the Omniglot Facebook page

Please note: quite a few people have asked me about the symbols on the UFO on this site - unfortunately I can't help with this.

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Will you publish my article on Omniglot?

I will consider publishing articles from writers and bloggers who write about languages and related topics. If you need a guideline as to length, around 400-500 words would be fine.

Articles should not be primarily to promote a particular product or service, though can mention products and services and link to them if they are language-related.

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Will you link to / exchange links with my website?

I will consider linking to websites that provide free language-related material.

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Can I add a link to Omniglot on my website?

Yes, you certainly can.

I leave the type of link up to you, but here are some suggestions for the wording of text links, if you need them:

Here are some Omniglot banners you could use:

Omniglot logo

Omniglot logo

Omniglot logo

Omniglot logo

Omniglot logo

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like other sizes or colours, just let me know.

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Can I advertise on Omniglot?

I will consider placing links to companies and organisations in language-related fields, though not custom writing services.

If you are interested, please let me know:

You can contact me at: my email address

You can also advertise via Google AdWords.

Please note: I only respond to emails addressed to me by name. I am not interested in ads designed solely to increase search engine rankings (SEO). If your email starts "Dear Webmaster" or "To Whom it may concern" or something along those lines, don't expect a reply.

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How can I register as a language tutor on Omniglot?

The Find Language Tutors (USA) section of Omniglot is run by WyzAnt Tutoring. You can register as tutor on their site.

If you are a language teacher based in the UK and can provide language lessons in person and/or via Skype, you can register on Lingos at: https://lingos.co/language-teacher-landing

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Can I apply for a job or to study at Omniglot?

There are currently no vacancies at Omniglot, and no courses are offered here.

For jobs involving languages, please try this page.

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Will you add my alphabet / con-script to Omniglot?

If you have invented a new alphabet or other writing system and would like me to add it to this site, first send me a sample text. If your alphabet looks good and really appeals to me, I will consider adding it to Omniglot.

Please note: only conlangs written with interesting and attractive invented scripts will be considered for inclusion on this site.

The address to write to is: My email address

More details of how to submit a con-script to Omniglot

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Will you add my conlang to Omniglot?

Only if it's written with an invented writing system that appeals to me.

Good places to submit conlangs are:
http://www.omniglot.com/forum/
http://www.langmaker.com

Details of how to submit a con-script to Omniglot

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Will you add my alternative spelling system to Omniglot?

Probably not, unless you have devised a way of writing a language with a alphabet not usually used to write it. For example, English with the Cyrillic alphabet or Ukrainian with the Latin alphabet.

More details of how to submit a con-script / adapted script to Omniglot

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Will you add my book to Omniglot?

If you've written a language-related book or other publication and would like it to appear in the Omniglot book store, you can send me the details. If I think it's suitable and it's available on one of the Amazon sites (Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.fr) I will add it.

The address to write to is: My email address

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Why is the ... alphabet/language not on Omniglot?

Probably because I haven't got round to adding it yet or haven't found sufficient information about it. If you can recommend any good sources of information, please do so. Details of the pronunciation of languages are usually the most difficult thing to find.

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How do you pronounce all those strange symbols, like [ð] and [θ]?

Those particular symbols represent the 'th' in the and the 'th' in three respectively. They belong to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and you can find out more at:

http://www.unil.ch/ling/page30184.html
http://www.unil.ch/ling/page12580.html (en français)

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How can I make a contribution to this site?

You could:

People who have contributed to this site

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When was this site last updated?

18th December 2014

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Can I use information and/or images from Omniglot?

If you want to use the material for non-commercial purposes, you're welcome to do so. Don't forget to mention where the material came from.

I suggest something along the lines of the following as way to cite Omniglot in your formal papers, assignments or essays:

Ager, Simon. "Omniglot - writing systems and languages of the world".
2012-02-30. www.omniglot.com

Omniglot was first published on the web in November 1998, and was last updated on 18th December 2014.

For further advice on citing online sources, see:
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/

If you would like to use material for commercial purposes, such as in books or computer programs, please contact me. Let me know if you need images in a different format or with a different colour background or dimensions. I will do my best to comply with your requirements. There may be a charge for this.

If you would like to copy or re-use any of the language-related articles, please ask the authors for permission. Contact details of the authors can be found at the bottom of the articles in most cases, if they're not there, please contact me, and I'll try to find them for you.

Unless otherwise indicated, all text and images on Omniglot are my own creations. The only exceptions are the images of writing systems invented by visitors

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What software do you use?

I use NoteTab Light, a free text editor, to edit the HTML and CSS files. I create most of the script charts in Excel, then take screenshots and save them as images using Fireworks. Some charts and other images are created in Fireworks. I use Audacity, a free sound editor, for sound files.

See the script charts

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What fonts do you use and where do you find them?

Most of the fonts I downloaded from various sites on the web. The rest came with programs or operating systems I've bought. A few have been sent to me by people who have invented scripts.

A list of the fonts used on this site
Links to sites where you can download many of these fonts
Download fonts for scripts invented by visitors to Omniglot

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What font do you use for the Omniglot title?

The Omniglot title that appears at the top of every page is in a Vietnamese font called Hoang Yen, which you can download here (TrueType, 35K). I added an inner bevel to it to make it stand out.

Omniglot - the online encyclopedia of writing systems & languages

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Omniglot What does the Omniglot logo mean?

The Omniglot logo is simply the word 'omniglot' written vertically and sideways. It's an example of Vertical English Character and Calligraphy (VEC) - a way to write English that looks like like seal-style Chinese characters. To read it as English you need to look at it sideways.

More details

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What kind of traffic do you get on Omniglot?

Since March 2004 this site has been visited by over 109 million people from every single country in the world, except Western Sahara. An average of 1.8 million unique visitors a month (59,137 a day) make 2.2 million visits to Omniglot and view 3.6 million pages - these averages are based on stats for the last 6 months. The most popular pages get between 40,000 and 104,000 impressions (page views) per month.

See Omniglot visitor stats

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Do you plan to make Omniglot available in printed form or on a CD-ROM?

Not at the moment. I make changes to this site more or less every day so a static copy would become out of date very quickly. I think the web is the best place for a site of this kind.

Some alphabet charts are available for downloading in Excel, Word and PDF format

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Where does the name "Omniglot" come from?

I coined the term in 1998 intending to use it as the name of a website design and translation agency I was planning to establish. The agency never really took off and I decided to use the name for this website instead.

Definition

Omniglot ('ɒmnɪˌglɒt) noun
1. having a command of all languages
2. written in, composed of, or containing all languages
3. a person with a command of all languages
4. a book containing several versions of the same text written in all languages
5. a mixture or confusion of languages
[from Latin omnis (all) + Greek γλωσσα (glossa) - tongue/language]
Adapted from the definition of polyglot in Collins English Dictionary

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What inspired you to create this site?

It started life back in 1998 as part of another website which no longer exists. I built the other website to promote my web design and translation services and included some information about how to build multilingual websites. While researching the mulitilingual section I discovered a wealth of information about languages and writing systems and thought it would be interesting learn more. After reading numerous books and websites about the subject I decided to add the information to my website, which eventually developed into the site you see today.

Details of how Omniglot came into being, what my work on it involves, and how I make a living from it.

I've been interested in languages for a long time: at school I learnt French and German, then at university I studied Chinese and Japanese. Since then I have taught myself quite a few other languages, including Spanish, Welsh, Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic.

Details of my language learning adventures

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How can I contact you?

You can contact me by email at
my email address

If you want to contact me via snailmail, let me know and I'll send you my address. Or if you prefer to do a bit of detective work, all the details you need to find my address are available on this site and on Flickr - this is my street and my house.

Hint: my registered office address is also where I live.

You can write to me in English, français, Deutsch, español, italiano, português, Esperanto, Cymraeg, Gaeilge, Gàidhlig, Gaelg, or 中文 (繁體或简体). I can read all these languages, but can't write them equally well, so may reply in English.

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Who is behind Omniglot?

Omniglot is brought to you by me, Simon Ager. I started putting the site together in 1998 and have maintained and developed it since then. In 2008 Omniglot became a limited company and is now my main source of income. Many other people have made contributions of new material, corrections and suggestions, for which I'm profoundly grateful.

Some of the contributors

About this site | Omniglot - a potted history | About me | My language learning adventures | My singing adventures | My songs | My musical adventures | My juggling adventures

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Which languages do you speak and how did you learn them?

I speak English, Mandarin, French, Welsh and Irish more or less fluently, and Scottish Gaelic, Manx, German, Spanish and Japanese fairly well. I also have a basic knowledge of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Esperanto, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Russian, Breton, Dutch, Swedish, Serbian and British Sign Language (BSL).

I studied French and German in (high) school, and did a BA in Chinese and Japanese at university. I have also done short courses in Welsh and Irish. All the other languages I taught myself.

More details of my language learning adventures.

About this site | Omniglot - a potted history | About me | My language learning adventures | My singing adventures | My songs | My musical adventures | My juggling adventures

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