Thursday, May 24, 2007

Idea for a Transliteration Editor

Another neat little application would be a transliteration editor for foreign scripts. One window would allow you to type a foreign word in roman letters and the other window would produce the same thing in the script associated with that language.

As an example:
You type: konichiwa
You see: こにちわ

The major point is that it would allow you to write these scripts on a roman keyboard. I don't think the differences between, say, US and Spanish keyboards would be important.

I think it would work fairly easily for Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Hindi, Japanese hiragana and katakana, Klingon, tengwar, and other alphabetic or syllabic scripts. Mandarin, Cantonese, kanji, Ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, and such might be somewhat more difficult.

Update: Apparently, the Russian word processor Hieroglyph has this capability in cyrillic.

Update 2: Someone at Microsoft has written a transliteration utility very like the one I described। It's free, has an odd selection of scripts, and appears to be fully customizable.

Update 3: A commentator pointed out to me that there's on-the-fly transliteration into Hindi on Blogger. It seems to work really nicely (although I don't read Hindi, so I can't really vouch), and the interface is really smooth and transparent, better, probably, than my idea (which is more or less identitical to the Microsoft utility) for most languages.


Anonymous said...

see on-the-fly Hindi transliteration by Blogger :

chuko said...

The interface in blogger for hindi transliteration is really nice. Thanks for pointing it out!

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