Systems of Transliteration

SOAS does not have a set system of transliteration that it requires students to follow. Unfortunately what this often results in is inconsistent transliteration. For example for the tā’ marbūṭah, if you use ah then consistently use ah, as in maktabah, hadīqah..etc. You can alternatively write it as maktaba or ḥadīqa. Since retrospectively ironing out such inconsistencies is very tedious, it is good to have a system in place. Two common systems are presented below.

  • One such system, which I personally prefer, is the Library of Congress system. The image below is a summary of the Library of Congress system of transliterating Arabic terms into Roman characters. A ten page .pdf document which discusses these rules in detail can be downloaded from the Library of Congress website: LOC transliteration table 1
  • Another such system is one used by the Institute of Islamic Studies, Mcgill University. The following is their transliteration chart. Mcgill transliteration chart
  • Yet another such system is the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (IJMES) system, which is discussed in detail on their website: The following is their transliteration chart: IJMES transliteration table

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