Transliteration standards

I am the new chair of the International Organization for Standardization
subcommittee responsible for transliteration (ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of
Written Languages). The new secretary (Evangelos Melagrakis from Greece) and
I hope to make it far more visible and far more relevant to end users than it
has been in the past.

To enable this, an electronic mailing list for ISO/TC46/SC2 ([log in to unmask])
has now been set up by ELOT (the Greek national standards body). We hope this
list will attract researchers and scientists who can add useful information
which might assist in developing standards on the Conversion of Written

We also hope to have an emphasis on issues of using computers to do
appropriate transformations necessary in automated transliteration, and also
look forward to having regular contact with those on this list who are
interested in such issues.

There are quite a few with an interest in transliteration in library
catalogues on the list, but there are other potential users of
transliteration too. The question has been raised as to whether one
transliteration system widely used in one application could be used in
other applications too: learning two similar but subtly different
systems is hard work, as people like map librarians will know,
who will be used to one set of conventions in maps and gazetteers, and
others in library cataloguing.

People are also now begining to realise that transliteration may have more
indirect impact on other aspects of multilingual computing than they had
previously realised.

There are now over 200 subscribers to [log in to unmask], from 38 countries
and territories, on five continents - one of the most international lists

One major advantage of email is the ability to involve far more people in
the development of a common purpose than were involved before, to get user
feedback, and expert opinion from various sources.

Subscribing to the mailing list for ISO/TC46/SC2

In order to join the list you should be actively involved in using
transliteration systems, or in developing transliteration systems, and should
be prepared to contribute to the list from time to time.

If you meet these criteria, and wish to join the list, send an email to
[log in to unmask] with this message in the body of the text:

        subscribe tc46sc2 [log in to unmask]

(but with your real email address replacing the string [log in to unmask]).
To find out further commands you can use, send the command "help" as the text
of an email either to [log in to unmask] or to: [log in to unmask]
To unsubscribe, send the command "unsubscribe" instead, omitting the "quotes"
marks in both cases. The "Help" command will also tell you how to obtain
copies of past messages etc., and other useful features.

Once you are subscribed, you can send messages to [log in to unmask] and receive
messages from other members of the list. Please reply where possible to the
list as a whole, so that all can benefit: using the Group Reply function
(pressing G on some email software) is the simplest way to achieve this.

Other members will also be interested to see who else is joining the list, so
it is useful to send a brief introduction (say, one or two short paragraphs)
to [log in to unmask] at the outset, saying what languages, scripts and other
things you are involved in. That is the most likely way to stimulate others
to write on the subjects you are interested in!

You should also inform your national standards body to express your interest
in participating in this list. I can provide some information on details of
your national member body of ISO, if you send me an email requesting this.

I look forward to seeing new participants on this list. Please feel free to
forward this to anyone else who may be interested in transliteration
standardisation issues, and to send any queries about the list to me.

                                   Yours sincerely

                                     John Clews
   John Clews (Chairman of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages)

SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Rd.  *  email: [log in to unmask]
Harrogate, HG2 7PG, United Kingdom      *     telephone: +44 (0) 1423 888 432