Transliteration-Transcription-Reversible Transcription



  1. Transliteration-Transcription:

    1. Transliteration:  simply converts the letters of one alphabet to those of another alphabet.  For example:  a transliteration of the following couplet using letters from what we call the Ottoman standard transcription alphabet




would look like this:


cānā ytr bv cānmh cvr v cfālr āt  zcr ysh cānh āncḳ āvlā kl vfā āt


    1. Transcription:  records or represents the sound or pronunciation of words in one alphabet using the letters of another alphabet.  A strict transcription in the modern Turkish alphabet of the couplet above would look very familiar:


        Cana bu canuma cevr u cefa et  zecrise cana ancak ola gel vefalar et


    1. The Ottoman standard transcription (OST):  uses elements of both transcription and transliteration.  That is, it uses special characters to represent all the letters of the Ottoman version of the Arabic alphabet as a transliteration would do and it varies the letters and adds characters to represent the assumed sound of the Ottoman words as one would do for a transcription.  Thus many of the characters in an OST representation are added on the basis of editorial decisions about pronunciation and do not represent anything visible in the original text.  The OST version of our sample text would look like this:


        cānā yeter bū cānuma cevr ū cefālar et  zecrīse cāna ancaḳ olā gel vefālar et


  1. Reversible transcription:

    1. The transliteration above is reversible.  That is to say that each letter could be reversed mechanically to an Arabic script letter and converted to read from right to left and the result would be identical to the original.  However, the transliteration is not readable.

    2. The transcriptions above, both the modern Turkish and OST, are not automatically reversible.  That is to say, there is no mechanical way to tell which characters belong to the original text and which are added by the transcriber.

    3. A reversible transcription: would do the following

      1. Provide unique characters for each character in the Ottoman script.

      2. Identify uniquely each character added by the transcriber and not represented in the Ottoman script.   [For example, the “short” vowels...]

      3. Identify uniquely all special uses of Arabic characters in the Ottoman script.  [For example, the “vocalic he” or initial vowels in Turkish words...]


  1. Sample Reversible Transcription System (complete):

    1. The sample system is based on OST and the OTAP digraphs.  It marks or identifies all vowels added by the transcriber by following them with a + sign.  The following vowels will disappear when reversing to the Ottoman script:









For example: [Ottoman script=>OST=>Reversible Transcription (RT)] 

 ﻴﺗﺭ      =>yeter => ye+te+r

 ﺒﻳﻙ      =>büyük => b{u:}+y{u:}+k

 ﺒﻳﻭﻚ      =>büyük => b{u:}+y{u:}k

b.  Initial short vowels in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish represented by “elif” are preceded by a ! sign. [All convert to #1575.]









For example: 

 ﺍﻮ     =>ev => !ev

 ﺍﺤﺳﺎﻦ   => iḥsān => !i{h!}s{a=}n

 ﺍﺼﻭﻞ     => uṣūl => !u{s!}{u=}l

ﺍﻤﻳﺩ          => ümīd =>!{u:}m{i=}d


  1. The initial vowels of Turkish and non-Persian/Arabic words are represented by an “!” + a vowel both in curly braces:


        {!a} = ﺁ [#1570]

        {!i} = ﺍﻴ [#1575 #1610]

                {!i.} = ﺍﻴ    “

{!o} = ﺍﻮ  [#1575 #1608]

{!o:} = ﺍﻮ   “

{!u} = ﺍﻮ   “

{!u:} = ﺍﻮ   “

For example: 

ﺁﺖ => at => {!a}t

ﺍﻴﺕ => it => {!i}t

ﺍﻳﺻﺗﻣﻖ => ıṣıtmaḳ => {!i.}{s!}{i.}+tma+{k!}

ﺍﻮﻟﻣﻕ => olmaḳ => {!o}lma+{k!}

ﺍﻮﻟﻣﻙ => ölmek => {!o:}lme+k

ﺍﻮﺝ => uc  => {!u}c

ﺍﻮﺴﺕ => üst => {!u:}st


  1. Medial Turkish and non-Persian/Arabic vowels are represented by the short vowel with no “+”.

        For example:

        ﺒﻭﻟﻧﻣﺵ => bulunmuş => bulu+nmu+{s,}

        ﻜﻮﻟﻣﻙ  => gülmek  => g{u:}lme+k

“u” and “{u:}” = #1608 

“i” and “{i.}” = #1610 

“a” = #1575 


  1. Final vowels in Turkish and non-Persian/Arabic words are represented by the short vowel followed by a space with the exception of the final “vocalic he”, which is represented by “e” or “a” followed by a “*”.

        For Example:

ﻜﻟﺩﻳﻜﻧﺩﻩ   => geldiginde => ge+ldigi+nde*

ﺍﻮﻠﺩﻯ  => oldı  => {!o}ld{i.}

ﺪﺍﺨﻰ  => da{h-}i  [“i” and “{i.}” followed by space = #1610]

Final “u” or “{u:}” followed by space = #1608


  1. Sample Text in Reversible Transcription:


c{a=}n{a=} ye+te+r bu c{a=}nu+ma* ce+vr {u=} ce+f{a=}la+r !et {++}

ze+crise* c{a=}na* !anca+{k!} {!o}la ge+l ve+f{a=}la+r !et {++}{++}


mi+{h!}ne+tle+rile* {k!}a+r{s,}u{n=}a* {!o:}ld{u:}+k{c,}e* {@}{a=}{s,}{i.}+{k!}{i.}+{n=} {++}

se+n {!o}yna* g{u:}+l ra+{k!}{i=}bi+le* {h-}{o=}{s,} {h-}{o=}{s,} {s!}a+f{a=}la+r !et {++}{++}


{@}{a=}{s,}{i.}+{k!}la+ru{n=}{i.} b{i=} g{u:}+ne+h {!o:}ld{u:}+rme* d{o=}stu+m {++} 

{!o:}ld{u:}+r ra+{k!}{i=}bi k{a=}fi+ri b{a=}r{i=} {g.}a+z{a=}la+r !et {++}{++}


lu+{t!}file* {k!}{i.}+l {@}i+l{a=}c b{u:}+g{u:}n !ey {t!}a+b{i=}b{..}i+ c{a=}n {++}

di+l {h-}a+ste*di+r f{i.}r{a=}{k!}u+{n=}la* ge+l de+v{a=}la+r !et {++}{++}


{s,}{i=}r{i=}n le+bile* {!a=}{g.}zu+{n=}a* s{o:}km{u:}+{s,} !ey mi+hr{i=} y{a=}r {++}

{@}{o:}+mr{i=} {c,}{o=}{g.} !olsu+n !el g{o:}t{u:}+r !imdi du+{@}{a=}la+r !et {++}{++}