<ܬܸ݂> for Non-Western Scripts
Authors: Lück, Christian
Date: Thursday, 7 September 2023, 2:15pm to 3:45pm
Location: Main Campus, L 2.202 <campus:measure>
Encoding right-to-left script in TEI-XML is a hassle unless one uses an editor
that hides away the tags. The problem arises when element names in Latin script
interrupt the right-to-left rendering on the editor screen by the Unicode
Bidirectional Algorithm. (Davis et al. 2022) However, hiding the tags is not the
only solution. With
<altIdent> TEI offers a means for declaring alternative
names for elements and attributes: names in another language and even in another
script. Thus, we can have valid right-to-left-only TEI documents in XML
version 1.1, which are readable and editable while tags are visible.
<altIdent> quickly feels like introducing entropy to the
Therefore, the paper suggests not to translate, but to transliterate
identifiers. Compared to translation, transliteration is a mechanical process.
The coding effort is low. An implementation is at hand in the Unicode ICU
library,1 and there is even an XPath binding for this library,2 so that
transliteration is available in XSLT and XQuery. Thus, generating a full ODD
with element and attribute aliases in Arabic, Syriac, Hebrew, etc. script
becomes simple and fast.3 It can be pre-built so that the hurdle for encoding
non-western script in TEI becomes much lower. The
<ܬܸ݂> from the paper’s title
<TEI> tag transliterated to Syriac script:
Transforming a TEI document with alternative names to its equivalent with names in Latin script is always possible through the mapping of identifiers and alternative identifiers deposited in the ODD. Direct re-transliteration of alternative names is only possible under certain preconditions.
The paper will first analyze the problem when bidirectional text is displayed on
a screen. It will show how well-formed tags look in a right-to-left script. It
will then introduce the transliteration of XML names in documents and ODDs. It
will discuss challenges regarding attributes in the XML namespace, especially
Davis, Mark et al. (2022): Unicode Standard Annex #9: Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm Latest version: https://www.unicode.org/reports/tr9/; Version 15.0.0: https://www.unicode.org/reports/tr9/tr9-46.html
About the author
Christian Lück has a PhD in German literature studies. He also studied few semesters in physics and computer science. He currently works as a research software engineer at University of Münster, Germany.