Transliteration, keyboards and fonts
A selection of keyboards to ease the typing of transliteration, as well as a list of suitable fonts.
The logic behind those keyboards
is the same as the logic of the Manuel de Codage. Basically, typing
a will give you an ayin (ꜥ),
A) will give an aleph ꜣ ; typing
x will give you a ḫ and
shift-x will give you a ẖ.
Uppercase transliteration letters are available when the
Caps Lock key has been pressed. So, if
Caps Lock is down,
x will give you Ḫ,
not ḫ or ẖ.
Information about transliteration
Today, it's much easier to enter transliteration of Egyptian texts,
thanks to Unicode. Things are almost settled. The final touch has been
the official attribution of a
specific code to the “Egyptological Yod” in Unicode 12
(A7BD ꞽ and A7BC Ꞽ, with the names
Latin Small Letter Glottal I and
Latin Capital Letter Glottal I
for lower and upper-case versions respectively). The only problem is that most fonts don't
support this addition yet. Font support is described below.
The Wikipedia page on the subject is a good starting point.
For scientific publication, I strongly advise against non unicode fonts. They will be much, much more difficult to handle for editors and publisher. Internally, a project might use its own encoding - for historical reasons, Ramses uses the old MdC encoding, for instance: that way, we restrict the possible choices between j and i̓, q and ḳ. But for external publication, the Unicode encoding is almost mandatory. Printed publication, in particular, should move to Unicode.
Less fundamental, but still important, it would also be time to avoid using the old english yogh (ȝ) and MODIFIER LETTER LEFT HALF RING (ʿ) as aleph and ayin. Both have now specific codes in unicode : ꜣ and ꜥ.
Those keyboards have been created through the great utility called Ukulele. A set of keyboards for Mac users. Available for french keyboards and US keyboards, with a selection of possible yods.
Created through Microsoft's Keyboard Layout Creator. They are not as well polished as the Mac OS keyboards. I don't usually develop on Windows.
Download Windows Keyboards.
I have an outdated package with both an ugly font and convenient keyboards called pack_translit.zip.
I'd suggest to use other fonts (see above and below,) and to download my specific keyboards.
As of september 2022 I haven't looked at the current state of affairs recently, so some fonts might have improved. I would suggest having a look at Daniel Werning page on Egyptological Unicode Fonts' for more recent information.
New Athena Unicode has all the characters you need, and are provided in most styles and weights, under an open-source licence.
Support for the recent A7BD code for "yod" can be found in the following fonts:
- HGNTransliteration a font gently sent to me by Boris Jegorovic, adapted from the original Crimson Font Family.
- New Athena Unicode a freeware multilingual font distributed by the Society for Classical Studies; has recently switched to the SIL Open Font Licence.
I used to suggest Charis SIL, which has all variations of bold and italic, or Gentium Plus which is nicer if you like old-style (Garalde) fonts, but currently lacks bold. However, those two fonts lack the "new" yod.
List of fonts which have at least egyptological aleph and ayin
This is a moving target. Expect the list to be extended. In some case, the glyphs have changed over time (for instance for Charis SIL).
Currently, if you are looking for free fonts, the most practical one seems to be New Athena Unicode, and perhaps Roboto (the latter if you want a sans-serif font).
If you know of a font (free or commercial) which should be added to this list, please mail me.
I haven't tested fonts for the new yod code yet. If you know of fonts which cover the A7BC/A7BD code for yod, feel free to tell me.
- Aegyptus a font with hieroglyphs, meroitic, coptic... and transliteration. There is a yod, but not in a compatible way (R) (no yod);
- Andika SIL (R) (yod/313?) ;
- Brill (really nice but free to use only for non-commercial projects, or books published by Brill) (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?, yod/486);
- Charis SIL (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?) ;
- Charis SIL Compact (R,I,B,BI) (yod/untested) ;
- Doulos SIL (R) (yod/313?) ;
- Doulos SIL Compact (R) (yod/untested) ;
- DejaVu Sans (and Sans Mono) (only the sans-serif version) (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?);
- Everson Mono (R) (yod/486);
- Gentium Plus (not Gentium basic) - has a nice garalde-like look (R,I) (yod/313?) ;
- Gentium Plus Compact (not Gentium basic) - has a nice garalde-like look (R,I) (yod/untested) ;
- GNU FreeSerif - currently only for the roman style of only the serif font (R) (no yod);
- HGNTransliteration a font created by Boris Jegorovic from the original Crimson Font Family. Features the new code for yod (R) (yod/A7BC).
- Junicode, the TrueType/OpenType font for medievalists (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?)
- Leeds Uni font mainly for medieval texts, but has ayin and aleph (R) (yod/untested);
- New Athena Unicode (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313, yod/486, yod/A7BC);
- Quivira (R) (no yod);
- Roboto : a sans-serif font made by google with lots of different styles (much more than the four I list here) (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?, yod/486?) Apache
- Roboto Condensed : condensed variant of the previous font (R,I,B,BI) (yod/313?, yod/486?) Apache
- EgyptoSerif: made by your humble servant and included in pack translit; based on dejavu. I'd suggest using something else now (R,I,B,BI), (yod/313, yod/486);
- RomanCyrillic, free for academic use, (R) (no yod);
- TITUS Cyberbit Basic (untested);
When a yod is available, list it:
- no yod : none of 313 and 486 gives correct result.
- yod/A7BC : the new, official and final code for “Egyptological Yod”.
- yod/313: i + U+0313 gives correct results
- yod/486: i + U+0486 gives correct results
- yod/untested: not checked yet.
A question mark is used to indicate that the uppercase variant hasn't got the correct position for the diacritic mark (in front of the "I"). Note that the "best" behaviour would be in theory (yod/A7BC, yod/313?, yod/486), as U+0313 should appear above the "I" to conform with other writing systems.
A font with just yod/A7BC would be perfect for “new” texts, but might be annoying if you must gather legacy transliteration texts (well, in this case, things being what they are, you are probably lucky if they are unicode at all).
Available Font Styles
The bold text (R, I...) refers to the main available styles:
- R: Roman
- B: Bold
- I: Italic
- BI: Bold Italic
Font Licences (currently very sketchy)
- refers to the SIL Open Font License, a GPL compatible font.
- Apache the quite permissive Apache Licence
(thanks to Alexander Ilin-Tomich and So Miyagawa for pointers)
Other pages on the subject
A brief history of computer fonts for transliteration
(to be done)