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English Translation Style Guide for EU – TRANSLITERATION

English Translation Style Guide for EU

TRANSLITERATION TABLE FOR GREEK

  • NAME >>> LETTER >>> UN 1987 (ELOT 743) >>> VARIANTS
  • alpha >>> Α >>> α >>> a
  • beta >>> Β >>> β >>> v
  • gamma >>> Γ >>> γ >>> g
  • + gamma >>>  >>> γγ >>> ng
  • + kappa >>>  >>> γκ >>> gk >>> g (initial), nk (medial + final)
  • + xi >>>  >>> γξ >>> nx
  • + chi >>>  >>> γχ >>> nch
  • delta >>> Δ >>> δ >>> d
  • epsilon >>> Ε >>> ε >>> e
  • zeta >>> Ζ >>> ζ >>> z
  • eta >>> Η >>> η >>> i
  • theta >>> Θ >>> θ >>> th
  • iota >>> Ι >>> ι >>> i
  • kappa >>> Κ >>> κ >>> k
  • lambda >>> Λ >>> λ >>> l
  • mu >>> Μ >>> μ >>> m
  • + pi >>>  >>> μπ >>> b (initial + final), mp (medial)
  • nu >>> Ν >>> ν >>> n
  • + tau >>>  >>> ντ >>> nt >>> d (initial + final), nt (medial)
  • xi >>> Ξ >>> ξ >>> x
  • omicron >>> Ο >>> ο >>> o
  • pi >>> Π >>> π >>> p
  • rho >>> Ρ >>> ρ >>> r
  • sigma >>> Σ >>> σ, ς >>> s
  • tau >>> Τ >>> τ >>> t
  • upsilon >>> Υ >>> υ >>> y [u in ου – see below]
  • phi >>> Φ >>> φ >>> f
  • chi >>> Χ >>> χ >>> ch
  • psi >>> Ψ >>> ψ >>> ps
  • omega >>> Ω >>> ω >>> o

Diphthongs

  • alpha, epsilon, eta + upsilon >>> αυ, ευ [ηυ – rare] άυ, αϋ, etc. >>> av, ev [iv – rare] af, ef, [if – rare] áy, aÿ, etc. >>> Before β, γ, δ, ζ, λ, μ, ν, ρ, or vowel Before θ, κ, ξ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, ψ, and final See footnote 2 on accents
  • omicron + upsilon >>> ου [όυ, οϋ – rare] >>> ou [óy, oÿ – rare]
  • alpha, epsilon, omicron + iota >>> αι, αϊ ει, εϊ οι, οϊ >>> ai, aï ei, eï oi, oï
  • upsilon iota >>> υι >>> yi

NOTES

1) General rule. Always use the ELOT 743 standard [Its use was approved by a European Community interinstitutional working party in 1987 and, for the purposes of romanising geographical names, by the UN (http://www.eki.ee/wgrs/) and the relevant US/UK bodies (http://www.pcgn.org.uk/Romanisation_systems.htm).] — including accents — to romanise Greek place names and in any text that is to be published as an official act (except where notes 3 or 4 apply).

In other texts, a variant may be more appropriate in some circumstances (a few specific cases are described in notes 2, 3, and 4).

2) Include accents where feasible. When a source text other than an official act does not indicate accents [An acute accent is used in Greek to indicate stress, and in syllables of two vowels the accent usually appears over the second vowel. However, when romanising upsilon as v/f in the syllables αύ, εύ, ηύ, move the accent forward to the vowel, e.g. αύ = áv/áf. All other accented combinations follow the rules for each separate character, e.g. άυ = áy, αϋ = aÿ.], they may be omitted in the English if it is impossible to determine the correct position or if doing so would involve disproportionate effort.

3) Names. If you know that someone romanises their own name differently from ELOT, use their spelling (for example, Yorgos or George for Γεώργιος). See also note 4.

4) Classical forms. In some circumstances the classical form may be more appropriate, e.g. Cyclades rather than Kykládes for Κυκλάδες. By the same token, the (ancient) Athenian statesman should be written Pericles, while a modern Greek with the same name would normally be Periklís unless, of course, he himself uses the ‘ancient’ spelling.

5) Double letters. There is no reason to transcribe a single σ between vowels as ‘ss’, e.g. Vassilis for Βασίλης, even though this is often seen. Take care with foreign names, however, as double letters are usually rendered in Greek by a single letter, even if pronounced double in the original language, e.g. Καναλέτο for Canaletto.

6) Original orthography of foreign names. The original spelling of foreign names transliterated into Greek is not always obvious and will often require some research. Ντάκα, for instance, is the capital of Μπανγκλαντές (Dhaka, Bangladesh). The Greek rendering τσ for the sounds ‘ch’ (as in ‘china’) and ‘ts’ can pose particular difficulty: Ντόμπριτς is the Greek rendering of the Bulgarian town of Dobrich — Добрич (not ‘Dobrits’), but Βράτσα is indeed Vratsa — Враца (and not ‘Vracha’).

7) Examples of Greek letters used to represent non-Greek sounds:

  • σ >>> sh (EN), ch (FR), sci/sce (IT), sch (DE), sz (PL), š (CS)
  • τσ >>> ch, tch (EN), ce/ci (IT), tsch (DE), cs (HU), č (CS)
  • ζ >>> j (FR), zs (HU), ž (CS)
  • τζ >>> j (EN), gi/ge (IT), c (Turkish), xh (Albanian)
  • ε >>> ö (DE), ø (DA)
  • ι >>> u (FR tu), ü (DE), y (DA)
  • (γ)ου >>> w (EN)

8) Examples of hellenised foreign names:

  • Auschwitz >>> Άουσβιτς
  • Maxwell >>> Μάξγουελ
  • Bruges >>> Μπριζ
  • Nietzsche >>> Νίτσε
  • Chekhov >>> Τσέχωφ/Τσέχοφ
  • Sarajevo >>> Σαράγιεβο/Σαράγεβο
  • Eisenhower >>> Αϊζενχάουερ
  • Schoenberg >>> Σένμπεργκ
  • Goethe >>> Γκέτε/Γκαίτε
  • Vaughan >>> Βον
  • Hoxha >>> Χότζα
  • Wyoming >>> Ουαϊόμινγκ

TRANSLITERATION TABLE FOR CYRILLIC

(Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian)

For each of the Slavic languages written in Cyrillic there are a number of different romanisation systems used for different purposes: in academic writing on Slavic linguistics; for library and museum cataloguing; for rendering Slavic names in news articles; for maps, road signs, passports and birth certificates, and so on. As a result, there is considerable variety and inconsistency encountered in practice: for example, the Belarusian city of Магілёў is variously transliterated as Mahiloŭ, Mahilyow, Mahilëŭ, Mahili oŭ, Mahilëw, Magìlëǔ, Mahilioú and Mahilioŭ, and while one Ukrainian Юлия may transliterate herself Yulia, another will use Yuliya, another Yuliia and yet another Iuliia.

The systems recommended here are based on official systems in use in the respective countries. As the systems are language-specific, care should be taken to use the right transliteration system for the right language: for example, a Russian ‘Ольга’ is ‘Olga’, but a Ukrainian one is ‘Olha’.

If not available on the keyboard you are using, accented letters such as đ, ž and ŭ can be found by using the Insert Symbol menu in Word.

While these transliteration rules can be reliably applied in most cases, it may sometimes be appropriate to deviate from them, for example:

  • where there is a more familiar established spelling: ‘София’ > ‘Sofia’ (not ‘Sofiya’), ‘България’ > ‘Bulgaria’ (not ‘Balgariya’), ‘Чайкoвский’ > ‘Tchaikovsky’ (not ‘Chaykovski’);
  • where an individual habitually uses a different spelling: e.g. the Bulgarian politician ‘Иван Станчoв’ himself uses the spelling ‘Ivan Stancioff’ rather than ‘Ivan Stanchov’;
  • for foreign names from languages not written in Cyrillic, in which case rather than being transliterated directly from the Cyrillic the name should be given in its native form correctly spelled (for languages usually written in the Latin alphabet) or in the form conventionally used in English (for other languages); for familiar names this will be obvious, for others it may require a little research: ‘Кишинёв’ (RU) > ‘Chișinău’, ‘Kошиці’ (UK) > ‘Košice’, ‘Солун’ (BG/MK/SR) > ‘Thessaloniki’, ‘Ахмадинежад’ (RU) > ‘Ahmadinejad’, ‘Чунцин’ (RU) > ‘Chongqing’, ‘Пан Ґі Мун’ (UK) > ‘Ban Ki-moon’.

 

  • Letter >>> BE >>> BG >>> MK >>> RU >>> UK >>> SR*
  • Аа >>> a
  • Бб >>> b
  • Вв >>> v
  • Гг >>> h >>> g >>> g >>> g >>> h/gh1 >>> g
  • Ґґ >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> g >>> –
  • Дд >>> d
  • Ђђ >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> Ðđ2
  • Ѓѓ >>> – >>> – >>> gj >>> – >>> – >>> –
  • Ее >>> je3/ie >>> e >>> e >>> ye4/e >>> e >>> e
  • Ёё >>> jo3/io >>> – >>> – >>> yo4/o >>> – >>> –
  • Єє >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> ye5/ie >>> –
  • Жж >>> ž >>> zh >>> zh >>> zh >>> zh >>> ž
  • Зз >>> z >>> Ss >>> – >>> – >>> dz >>> – >>> – >>> –
  • Ии >>> – >>> i >>> i >>> i6 >>> y >>> i
  • Ii >>> i >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> i >>> –
  • Ïï >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> yi5/i >>> –
  • Йй >>> j >>> y >>> y >>> y5/i >>> –
  • Jj >>> – >>> – >>> j >>> – >>> – >>> j
  • Кк >>> k
  • Лл >>> l
  • Љљ >>> – >>> – >>> lj >>> – >>> – >>> lj
  • Мм >>> m
  • Нн >>> n
  • Њњ >>> – >>> – >>> nj >>> – >>> – >>> nj
  • Оо >>> o
  • Пп >>> p
  • Рр >>> r
  • Сс >>> s
  • Тт >>> t

1 When preceded by з to avoid confusion with the digraph ‘zh’ that represents ж: for example, Згорани becomes Zghorany.

2 The transliteration ‘dj’ is sometimes seen but considered incorrect, so for Ђоковић write Ðoković, not Djoković.

3 Initially and after a vowel, apostrophe, soft sign or ў.

4 Initially and after vowel.

5 Initially.

6 The combination ‘ий’ should be transliterated as ‘i’ in Russian, but as ‘yi’ in Ukrainian.

  • Letter >>> BE >>> BG >>> MK >>> RU >>> UK >>> SR*
  • Ћћ >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> ć
  • Ќќ >>> – >>> – >>> kj >>> – >>> – >>> –
  • Уу >>> u
  • Ўў >>> ŭ >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> –
  • Фф >>> f
  • Хх >>> ch >>> h >>> h >>> kh >>> kh >>> h
  • Цц >>> c >>> ts >>> ts >>> ts >>> ts >>> c
  • Чч >>> č >>> ch >>> ch >>> ch >>> ch >>> č
  • Џџ >>> – >>> – >>> dzh >>> – >>> – >>> dž
  • Шш >>> š >>> sh >>> sh >>> sh >>> sh >>> š
  • Щщ >>> – >>> sht >>> – >>> shch >>> shch >>> –
  • Ъъ >>> – >>> a >>> – >>> omit >>> – >>> –
  • Ыы >>> y >>> – >>> – >>> y1 >>> – >>> –
  • Ьь >>> acute accent2 >>> y >>> – >>> omit >>> omit >>> –
  • Ээ >>> e >>> – >>> – >>> e >>> – >>> –
  • Юю >>> ju3/iu >>> yu >>> – >>> yu >>> yu4/iu >>> –
  • Яя >>> ja3/ia >>> ya5 >>> – >>> ya >>> ya4/ia >>> –
  • ’ (apostrophe) >>> omit >>> – >>> – >>> – >>> omit >>> –

* Serbian is unusual in being a language with complete synchronic digraphia, with speakers using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, depending on personal preference, and able to read the two scripts equally well. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the two alphabets, each letter of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet corresponding to a letter (or combination of two letters) in the Serbian Latin alphabet. The Latin letters given in this table for Serbian are, therefore, not a transliteration as such, but the Latin alphabet version of Serbian.

1 The combination ‘ый’ should be transliterated as ‘y’.

2 Placed over the preceding consonant: , e.g. дзь = dź, зь = ź, ль = ĺ, нь = ń, сь = ś, ць = ć.

3 Initially and after a vowel, apostrophe, soft sign or ў.

4 Initially.

5 In Bulgarian word-final ‘ия’ should be transliterated as ‘ia’: Мария becomes Maria, not Mariya.

© European Union

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