ISO 15919


ISO 15919 (Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters) is one of a series of international standards for romanization by the International Organization for Standardization. It was published in 2001 and uses diacritics to map the much larger set of consonants and vowels in Brahmic and Nastaliq scripts to the Latin script.


ISO 15919 transliterations
ISO 7-bit
Devanagari Nastaliq Bengali–Assamese Gurmukhi Gujarati Odia Tamil Telugu Kannada Malayalam Sinhala
a a اَ
ā aa آ
æ ae
ǣ aee
i i اِ
ī ii اِی
u u اُ
ū uu اُو
ŭ ^u
r̥̄ ,rr
l̥̄ ,ll
e e
ē ee اے
ê ^e ,
ai ai اَے
o o
ō oo او
ô ^o
au au اَو
;m ں
~m ں
.h ہ
k k ک
kh kh کھ
g g گ
gh gh گھ
;n ن٘
n̆g ^ng
c c چ
ĉ ^c
ch ch چھ
j j ج
jh jh جھ
ñ ~n ڃ
n̆j ^nj
.t ٹ
ṭh .th ٹھ
.d ڈ
ḍh .dh ڈھ
.r ड़ ڑ ড় ଡ଼
ṛh .rh ढ़ ڑھ ঢ় ଢ଼
.n ݨ
n̆ḍ ^n.d
t t ت
th th تھ
d d د
dh dh دھ
n n ن
n̆d ^nd
p p پ
ph ph پھ
b b ب
bh bh بھ
m m م
m̆b ^mb
_n ನ಼
y y ی
;y य़ য় ಯ಼
r r ر ,
^r ऱ्
l l ل
.l ਲ਼
v v و
ś ;s ش ਸ਼
s s س
h h ہ
q q क़ ق ক় ਕ਼ ક઼ ಕ಼
k͟h _kh ख़ خ খ় ਖ਼ ખ઼ ಖ಼
ġ .g ग़ غ গ় ਗ਼ ગ઼ ಗ಼
z z ज़ ز জ় ਜ਼ જ઼ ಜ಼
f f फ़ ف ফ় ਫ਼ ફ઼ ಫ಼
_s थ़ ث
,s स़ ص
,h ह़ ح
,t त़ ط
. ع
w w व़ و
ž ^z झ़ ژ
_z ذ
ż ;z ض
.z ظ

Relation to other systemsEdit

ISO 15919 is an international standard on the romanization of many Brahmic scripts, which was agreed upon in 2001 by a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries.[citation needed] However, the Hunterian transliteration system is the "national system of romanization in India" and a United Nations expert group noted about ISO 15919 that "there is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products."[1][2][3]

Another standard, United Nations Romanization Systems for Geographical Names (UNRSGN), was developed by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN)[4] and covers many Brahmic scripts.

The ALA-LC romanization was approved by the Library of Congress and the American Library Association and is a US standard. The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is not a standard (as no specification exists for it) but a convention developed in Europe for the transliteration of Sanskrit rather than the transcription of Brahmic scripts.

As a notable difference, both international standards, ISO 15919 and UNRSGN[5] transliterate anusvara as , while ALA-LC and IAST use for it. However, ISO 15919 provides guidance towards disambiguating between various anusvara situations (such as labial versus dental nasalizations), which is described in the table below.

Comparison with UNRSGN and IASTEdit

The table below shows the differences between ISO 15919, UNRSGN[5] and IAST for Devanagari transliteration.

Devanagari ISO 15919 UNRSGN IAST Comment
ए / े ē e e To distinguish between long and short 'e' in Dravidian languages, 'e' now represents ऎ / ॆ (short). Note that the use of ē is considered optional in ISO 15919, and using e for (long) is acceptable for languages that do not distinguish long and short e.
ओ / ो ō o o To distinguish between long and short 'o' in Dravidian languages, 'o' now represents ऒ / ॊ (short). Note that the use of ō is considered optional in ISO 15919, and using o for (long) is acceptable for languages that do not distinguish long and short o.
ऋ / ृ In ISO 15919, ṛ is used to represent ड़.
ॠ / ॄ r̥̄ For consistency with r̥
ऌ / ॢ In ISO 15919, ḷ is used to represent .
ॡ / ॣ l̥̄ l̤̄ For consistency with l̥
◌ं ISO 15919 has two options about anusvāra. (1) In the simplified nasalization option, an anusvāra is always transliterated as . (2) In the strict nasalization option, anusvāra before a class consonant is transliterated as the class nasal— before k, kh, g, gh, ṅ; ñ before c, ch, j, jh, ñ; before ṭ, ṭh, ḍ, ḍh, ṇ; n before t, th, d, dh, n; m before p, ph, b, bh, m. is sometimes used to specifically represent the Gurmukhi tippi .
ṅ ñ ṇ n m
◌ँ Vowel nasalization is transliterated as a tilde above the transliterated vowel (over the second vowel in the case of a digraph such as aĩ, aũ), except in Sanskrit.

Font supportEdit

Only certain fonts support all Latin Unicode characters for the transliteration of Indic scripts according to this standard. For example, Tahoma supports almost all the characters needed. Arial and Times New Roman font packages that come with Microsoft Office 2007 and later also support most Latin Extended Additional characters like ḑ, ḥ, ḷ, ḻ, ṁ, ṅ, ṇ, ṛ, ṣ and ṭ.

There is no standard keyboard layout for ISO 15919 input but many systems provide a way to select Unicode characters visually. ISO/IEC 14755 refers to this as a screen-selection entry method.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2007), Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names, United Nations Publications, 2007, ISBN 978-92-1-161500-5, ... ISO 15919 ... There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India or in international cartographic products ... The Hunterian system is the actually used national system of romanization in India ...
  2. ^ United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (1955), United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Far East, Volume 2, United Nations, 1955, ... In India the Hunterian system is used, whereby every sound in the local language is uniformly represented by a certain letter in the Roman alphabet ...
  3. ^ National Library (India) (1960), Indian scientific & technical publications, exhibition 1960: a bibliography, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Government of India, 1960, ... The Hunterian system of transliteration, which has international acceptance, has been used ...
  4. ^ "UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Differences between ISO 15919 and UNRSGN". Working group on Romanization systems. March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017.

External linksEdit

  • ISO 15919:2001
  • Transliteration of Indic scripts: how to use ISO 15919
  • CLDR chart of Latin-Indic transliteration
  • Aksharamukha Asian Script Converter Transliterates between about 20 Asian scripts and several romanization standards including ISO 15919
  • Any indic language to another indic language Transliteration - SILPA project
  • Indian Languages Transliteration - Basic Transliteration for users and programmers.
  • Transliteration standard for Hindi, Marathi & Nepali
  • - An implementation of the Devanāgarī part of ISO 15919 in Python
  • Devanagari, Sinhala, Tamil and ISO 15919 transliteration service.
  • Devanāgarī to ISO 15919 (IAST) converter Online tool for converting Devanagari to IAST