script conversion systems

System Name: odni-urd-Arab-Latn-2015

Authority IDodni
System ID2015
Source ScriptArab
Destination ScriptLatn
NameICS-630-01 Romanization of Hindi and Urdu Personal Names (2015)
DescriptionThis system is the Intelligence Community (IC) standard for the transliteration of names from Hindi and Urdu that will be applied to all final written reports and products for IC consumers. It is not intended to eliminate variations of a name that can contribute forensic information. Rather, it is to provide an IC standard Romanized (English) transliteration from standard Hindi and Urdu that can then be linked to forensic information in ways that will help identify the referent of the name. There are typically a number of ways that names can be Romanized from either Devanagari (Hindi) or modified Arabic (Urdu) scripts. Ambiguities can result from the Romanization of Hindi and Urdu names for several reasons, including the fact that some sounds in South Asian languages (e.g., retroflex consonants, voiced aspirates) have no equivalent in English or other European languages. In the case of Urdu, as in the original Arabic source of many Islamic names, short vowel markings, double consonant marks and other diacritics that would clearly distinguish the name are almost always omitted from standard written texts. And many Islamic names of Arabic or Persian origin reflect spelling distinctions from those languages that are lost in modern Urdu pronunciation (e.g., three distinct Arabic letters all represent the identical sound [s] for Urdu speakers); transliterations might either maintain those spelling distinctions or ignore them entirely. And, as in the Arabic source, names containing the Arabic definite article ‘al’ (‘ul’) show anticipatory assimilation in pronunciation (e.g., Shams al Din > Shamsuddin); transliterations may either reflect spelling or pronunciation in such cases. Because Hindi and Urdu overlap so extensively, it is desirable to correlate Hindi and Urdu transliterations as much as possible. In the area of names, this can become problematic when the Urdu spelling accurately reflects original Arabic spelling while the Hindi spelling was phonetically-based, in essence, already a transliteration. This would argue for ignoring Arabic/Urdu spelling distinctions not reflected in pronunciation in either Urdu or Hindi (e.g., letter sin versus letter sad) while maintaining Arabic/Urdu spelling distinctions like Hindi also maintains (e.g., qaf as in Qutubbin versus kaf)). However, this is not always possible (see Hindi va versus Urdu wau). In cases where an individual’s name has already been transliterated, that is to be indicated – as found – in parentheses immediately following its rendition in the transliteration standard (e.g., Muhammad Khulud (Mohamed Khulood)). In addition, if the original Devanagari or Arabic-script spelling is known, that spelling should also appear in parentheses following the name, if possible, following best practices of the issuing organization and taking into consideration information system capabilities. This convention is designed to ensure that vital forensic information is not lost. For names of persons who are known to not be part of the Hindi- or Urdu-speaking community, use the relevant IC transliteration standard for names from that language (e.g., Mikhail, Yitzhak). A translator’s note may be used to clarify the known origin of the person. Spell names of individuals from languages that are written in Roman letters as they are spelled in those languages (e.g., George Clooney, Jorge Garcia, Georges Pompidou). In the case of active senior government officials in the on-line CIA World Factbook and the on-line directory of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments, the spellings given in these on-line reference works should be used in place of the IC Standard. For any individual who has at one time been listed in the Factbook or Chiefs of State directory but who no longer appears in those resources (i.e. is no longer a government official), the IC Standard spelling should appear first, with the spelling, if known, as it previously appeared in those resources listed within parentheses at the first usage. The primary goal of this system is to produce a consistent Romanized transcription of the name that is readable to the non-specialist. The system uses the 26 letters of the standard (English) Roman alphabet. Some ambiguities in the Romanized form will occur without the use of diacritics. However, within the context of a report, where additional information about the individual is provided, the referent will be clearly identified. Additionally, this system will be used in conjunction with on-line tools, name dictionaries and lists containing conventional spellings of names of well-known individuals
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