Transliteration is the general process of converting characters from one script to another, such as converting from Greek to Latin, or Japanese katakana to Latin. It is very important to note that this transliteration is not translation; it is simply converting the letters from one script to another, not translating the underlying words. Here is a sample of transliteration:

Source Transliteration to Latin
キャンパス kyanpasu
Αλφαβητικός Κατάλογος Alphabêtikós Katálogos
биологическом biologichjeskom

While it may be a stretch to realize that kyanpasu is equivalent to the English word campus, someone without any knowledge of Japanese will have a far easier time recognizing and interpreting the text than if the letters were left in the original script. This is especially useful in particular instances. For example, when viewing user names that are entered in a world-wide database, it is extremely helpful to be able to view and refer to them in one's native script. It is also useful for product support; if a service engineer is sent a program dump filled with characters from foreign scripts, it can be much easier to diagnose the problem when the text is transliterated and the characters are recognizable. When doing searching and indexing, it also allows for retrieval of information in a different script.


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