Transliteration of Indic scripts: how to use ISO 15919

Opening a printed copy of the international standard ISO 15919 Transliteration of Devanagari and related Indic scripts into Latin characters, available from National Standards Bodies, it might seem to be rather complicated because of the amount of information, the choices to be made for a transliteration, and the number of tables. This site will guide you through all stages of the process of transliterating a text.

This site also provides further information on the transliteration of Indic scripts, some of which is not given in ISO 15919 (such as the relation to Unicode).

Please note that the transliteration system of ISO 15919 is defined by means of options and recommendations, tables and (on this site) Notes, and not just by tables. Details are in I, II below. All Notes need to be used, but not all are referred to in the tables.

Conformance to the standard is to be stated in terms of which options and recommendations are followed.

Some of the pages on this site open in new windows, which may then be resized, if desired. Feedback on errors, problems, possible improvements, etc, are welcome by email.

N.B. The terms surface structure, deep structure, slot in are not used in ISO 15919.
Nothing on this site is a standards document. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the material comes without warranty.

List of abbreviations used.

Transliteration of Indic scripts: the process

     I. Selecting Options and Recommendations (with clarification of 7-bit option, 3 September, 2009)

    II. Transliteration Tables and Notes

         Main Table - Explanation
         Main Table - 1 (Tamil au CORRECTED 12 June, 2003)
         Main Table - 2
         Main Table - 3 (UPDATED 15 March, 2012)

         Table A. Vedic accents
         Table B. Schemes of modified Indic characters for P-A.


Transliteration of Indic scripts: additional explanations

         Characters, glyphs, and elements of an Indic script: what is to be transliterated?
         Bindi, Tippi, and Adhak

         Relation of ISO 15919 to Unicode/ ISO 10646  (Not in ISO 15919) (UPDATED 15 March, 2012)
         Note on ISCII:1991 and ISO 15919

         Chart of equivalent Indic characters

Other sites

Fonts. Transliteration and Devanagari fonts for Sanskrit.
CSX+ fonts, with Latin diacritics.
ISO site


Last updated: 15 March 2012