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Transliteration

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Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 15.02.2013
Pending moderation

I have been trying to post a new translation, English-Spanish, and it appears as 'transliteration'.

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013

Looks like you were able to solve the problem, Rosa. There's only something strange. On your list I see it thrice, though I'm unable to access two first entries. Do you see it the same way?

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 15.02.2013

The song was posted again by Rata Negra with some changes in the lyrics, and adding a couple words to the title. It was on this version where I was having problems. When I tried the previous (original one), everything was o.k.
The no acces is because I deleted them. I think.

Thanks for caring.

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013

When I try to access them I get "404 - Page not found", so you must have deleted them. On the other hand I wonder why I'm able to see them on the list of your translations. They should have disappeared after deleting them.

Let's wait until tomorrow and see if there will be any change.

EDIT:

Here there's only one translation visible:
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/mary-hopkin-lyrics.html

Is it a bug? (I mean on your list.)

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 15.02.2013

That's the only one that counts. Why the others still appear on my list, I don't know.
We'll wait.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

There is also another problem that I feel the need to point out: I frequently check the transliteration requests and, oh god, there are a lot of them that are unnecessary (and don't even have request comments!): for example, Italian->Transliteration, ENGLISH->Transliteration, Spanish->Transliteration...

I mean, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Korean, Armenian, Georgian, languages that can be written with another alphabet in general (e.g. Slavic languages, Romanian). In my opinion, those requesters have mixed things up and I'm not really sure they know the meaning of the word Transliteration; they probably read it in a rush and see "Translation" so it kinda suits them I guess?

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013

Could be. On the other hand you can also transliterate songs written in Latin alphabet into e.g. Russian, Arabic or Japanese, I think.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

Yes, but in that case, it's either necessary or just acceptable.

But what I said is that languages that are already written in Latin and do not use other alphabets, for example Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Irish Gaelic etc., these have nothing to do with transliteration. That's why I consider it annoying, when seeing requests like these.

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013

Some time ago one user tried to make a transliteration English -> Polish. I can't recall anymore, but I think he was an English native speaker who wanted to learn Polish. The result was better than I expected, but in this case we have IPA and other transliterations don't make sense.

Επισκέπτης

That's a small shortcoming of the transliteration system. Assuming a transliteration is implicitly targeting Latin is a bit, well, ethnocentric, shall we say?
Ideally, requests should state explicitly which alphabet is meant, just like a translation request specifies a language.
That would also make it easy to rule out nonsensical requests like French->Spanish automatically.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

What makes in your opinion a translation of a song from French to Spanish 'nonsensical'?

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013
petit élève wrote:

That's a small shortcoming of the transliteration system. Assuming a transliteration is implicitly targeting Latin is a bit, well, ethnocentric, shall we say?
Ideally, requests should state explicitly which alphabet is meant, just like a translation request specifies a language.
That would also make it easy to rule out nonsensical requests like French->Spanish automatically.

Exactly.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

I think that peti élève meant 'transliteration from French into Spanish' if I'm not mistaken.
To add to the subject, a transliteration is not necessarily made into the Latin alphabet, but can, for example, be made into the Greek alphabet or the Cyrillic script.

English Oxford Dictionary: transliterate, verb: 'Write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet.'

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

What I can't really understand is how unpopular transliteration methods (e.g. English-language songs using the Greek alphabet) would be helpful.

By the term unpopular, I mean not common.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Well, it would be the same benefit for Greek speakers as it is for English speakers having a transliteration into the Latin alphabet of a Greek song. I suppose.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

But there is a very big difference: Greek education system has long included at least English as a foreign language (in more recent years, maybe the '90s, there was the addition of the 2nd foreign language, namely French or German). So there is a high range of Greeks at least familiar with the alphabet, not to mention the language. On the other hand, English, German, French, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, name who you wish; these people, unless they have studied in a Classical Gymnasium or Ancient Greek in the University, or even practiced alone, they have little to no familiarity with the Greek alphabet.

Same goes with e.g. Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, Arabs, Persians, Israelis, Afghani, etc. with one another (including the Greek alphabet).

In other words, it's more important to transliterate those languages using the latin alphabet, rather than latin based languages, using their alphabet.

The reason I didn't include the other countries on my first point, is because I am Greek and I can have a legit opinion on this fact, based on what I've studied through the years. I am sure this also goes for the rest mentioned later.

Also, I want to add this: I know a person in Zagreb, Croatia who has no affiliation to Greece in any way and when they saw the Greek subtitles on the television, the first thing they said was that "your letters look like drawings". The same reaction is among Greek people who come in contact with Asian (Hindi, Pashto, Farsi, Arabic, Georgian) or African (Amharic, Tamazight) scripts.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Even if it benefits fewer people, it can still help some and should be enabled anyway.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

I can remember my emotion the first time I went to Greece (hitch-hiking from Bulgaria) and saw the first road signs written in Greek... exactly like in the Ancient Greek manuals I had used in college. The letters seemed suddenly have come to life !

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

That's a comment that virtually anyone could say about any other writing system (including the Latin alphabet).

Besides, many Greek letters – if not the Greek alphabet as a whole – are used commonly in European countries and in international systems. For example, the letter μ is the internationally recognised symbol of the (Greek) prefix 'micro', as in μg (microgramme) or μm (micrometre). So, actually, at least in Europe, the Greek alphabet is not alien to anyone with a spark of general culture.

Επισκέπτης

Still I can relate to the feeling of historical continuity.
A bit as if you found hieroglyphs on road signs in Egypt Regular smile

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

It's one thing to recognise fragments -or even the whole- alphabet
And another thing to be raised in an educational system, where at least two latin-based languages are required
and being taught since even pre-K classes.

Over the past decades, even more Greeks (and again excuse me from bringing up only my country's example) know at least basic English (and virtually basic French or German).

Greeklish (and the other way 'round, English written in Greek alphabet) are an odd case: the first is not widely accepted and mostly used by teens. The latter is an ironic way to state things, just for the laughs and not a common practice (e.g. write a whole paragraph).

Here are some facts (there are way more) that can be considered acceptable practices:
Slavic languages have two alphabets, whether they're official, or not: Latin and Cyrillic. That's mainly due to tradition.
Kazakhstan has begun standarising the Latin alphabet over Cyrillic. (by presidential decree!)
Azerbaijan used to use the Cyrillic alphabet, it's obsolete, but it's use is not unacceptable or irrational.
The Arab world has various transcription systems, based on the region (and dialect).
Japanese has Hepburn and Revised Romanisation.
Korean has McCune-Reischauer Romanisation (MR, used in Korea DPR) and Revised Romanisation (RR, used in South Korea).

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

Mmmh, one thing is to know Greek alphabet (which isn't really hard), another thing is to know how Greeks do pronounce it (nowadays). It's a little disturbing at the beginning, but it isn't that hard neither. The most important thing is to understand that MPAR (ΜΠΑΡ) means BAR. Wink smile

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

The last part of my comment was meant to acknowledge the importance of the Greek alphabet, language and culture in Europe.
I know that most Greek speakers know the Latin alphabet, and it's less the case for other people when it comes to the Greek one, but still, a transliteration into a non-Latin script may be helpful and should be enabled.

There are official transliteration systems to transcribe other scripts into the Cyrillic script as well.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

I still go with official, whether it's still used, or obsolete. As far as it concerns my contribution to LT community, I can't operate outside these lines.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

What do you mean? Is it actually forbidden to offer a transliteration into Cyrillic?

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

What I mean is that there are designated transliteration systems for a wide variety of languages. I am not in favour of creating our own styles (although I support loosely basing them, and by that I mean combine elements from pre-existing techniques. I was forced to do it a couple of times, since it seemed more appropriate, linguistically speaking).

Some of these systems are not officially adopted, but they have a respected status! Almost all of them are designed by Universities.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Has someone in this thread suggested that we should create our own transliteration system? I'm confused.

I thought the main point was, in my case, to defend people who feel the need to have lyrics transliterated into their own writing system; not everyone can speak English or read the Latin alphabet, even if it's extremely widespread.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

I am confused, too.

My main point is that people should request transliterations that can come to life, since there are actual designated systems for this case.
And not ask for random transliterations 1) without special instructions 2) that are out of place (a Spanish song with Cyrillic - not a Slavic language)

It's simple linguistics oriented with all due respect to the world writing systems.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

I see.

I agree that users should always explain precisely what they want (which writing system they want the lyrics transcribe into). I also agree that in some cases, the transliterations can be arbitrary, but it is the case with Greek to Latin too. I've seen many ways to transliterate Greek into Latin on this website, with varying degree of accuracy, constistency, etc.

That's why, as a graduated linguist, I would always favour the IPA.
But still, Russian not being a Romance language doesn't prevent it to be transliterated with the Latin alphabet (with various norms according to each country, plus an interational norm that we should use to make transliterations here).

Anyway, I'll let people do as they like. Not a big deal for me.

Επισκέπτης

I couldn't agree more.
Transliterations are a convenience for people who want to sing or have an idea of the music of a language. It's not a matter of figures or efficiency, rather the possibility to lend a hand each time even a single person needs help to overcome the language barrier.
What if a Russian wants to sing a French song? Should he be denied a transliteration into Cyrillic on the pretext that he'd be better off learning French?
If we go that utilitarian way, why not forbid translations into languages that have too few speakers? After all, is a Latvian translation worth the disk space and power usage if only a mere 2 million people can read it?

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

What I intend to add to your verdict, fellow member, is that as I stated before, there are systems approved by Universities, for languages like Greek, Russian etc. that are used for these transliterations.

I specifically state what system I use in the comment section. Even when I combine elements from pre-existing ones.

There are languages with one system (Gajića from BCS Cyrillic to Latin) and others with more than one (Bulgarian, Slavomacedonian, Kazakh, Azerbaijani, Japanese, Korean and so on).

I am against absurd systems (as previous stated) and I will continue opposing. But nevertheless we've reached a common summary of the topic, I must say.

I don't want to sound aggressive or anything, yet I really need to point out the thin line between transliterations that exist and those that are used by individuals for their own helping and are not widely accepted as techniques.

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013
petit élève wrote:

Transliterations are a convenience for people who want to sing or have an idea of the music of a language. It's not a matter of figures or efficiency, rather the possibility to lend a hand each time even a single person needs help to overcome the language barrier.
What if a Russian wants to sing a French song? Should he be denied a transliteration into Cyrillic on the pretext that he'd be better off learning French?

Of course I agree with you, Pierre, though there's one big problem with any transliteration: Every language has it's own sounds and no transliteration can teach how to pronounce correctly if you don't have the idea of that sounds.

Επισκέπτης

Of course, but after all each and every translation is a betrayal of the original meaning too Regular smile

Moderator
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 16.01.2013

Yeah, this is especially true in case of my translations, because I tend to interpret everything my way, though I care to keep the sense of the original.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

That's another thin line. In some cases, the syntax doesn't make sense when translated between languages, so we naturally change the words, while maintaining the meaning, in order to produce a rational text.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

IPA is a clever system for linguists, but IMO it is completely inadequate for ordinary people, because unintelligible. As to transliterations, I'd follow my pragmatic temper and suggest to add a video (or audio) and to listen to the text. That's certainly the best school you can find.
As to transliterations, say from Greek alphabet to Latin, I confess that I don't know the rules, so just for my personal information, how would you transliterate for ex : έγινε η βροχή χαλάζι (song Ξημερώνει). I instinctively would write "eyin'i vrokhi halazi", but that's only my point of view.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

Believe me, brate, you're on the right track!

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

Unintelligible until you learn it; it's not that impossible to understand. I mean one sound (or phoneme), one symbol. Better than guessing what is meant when an English person transliterate some Russian.

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

Don't get me started about Celtic languages!  Teeth smile

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

Why ? It's easy : IPA "ɬanˌvair puɬˈɡwɨ̞nɡɨ̞ɬ" stands for "Llanfairpwllgwyngyll", which is the shortened form of Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, in Wales. Any one can learn that. Tongue smile

Ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ Βασιλεὺς Ῥωμανίας
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.08.2018

Guess I should have stated that you "don't get me started about Celtic languages, without the help of IPA" then

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

In this case, it's Welsh phonology that is to blame, not the IPA, which is still easier to read than the Welsh word written with the Welsh spelling system. The symbol [ɬ] stands for only one sound, whereas 'll' could be used to represent many different sounds; it's easier.

Super Member
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 01.07.2018

For Russian language, there is a "scientific" transliteration where normally every sign stands also for one sound, it is well used in academic texts... but it is much easier to use for Czechs, for instance, than for poor sinners like us who use a French or English keyboard : letters like ž, č, č, ě are not so easy to type... In IPA, there are plenty og signs I don't have the faintest idea how they should be pronounced - and worse, even when I think I've got it, linguists will make some subtle difference and use another sign... After a moment, it seems that it doesn't make sense any more, simply because different locutors of the same language will pronounce the same word differently (and who will be right then ?), and even the same person might pronounce it in various ways, depending on the circumstances.

Editor
Ημ. Εγγραφής: 31.12.2013

That is why IPA transcriptions choose either to represent the pronunciation of the singer or some kind of standard pronunciation used for a given language.

If you can't type IPA symbols or Czech letters, well, don't make transliterations or translations into Czech. Although, there are many tools that can be used to write anything without a physical keyboard; the most obvious being a virtual one.

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