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Romanization or Latinization is the process by which words and languages that normally do not use the Latin alphabet are converted into Latin letters. This allows people who do not know the original writing system to read the sounds of the language. It is one way to show pronunciation of words from a non-Latin writing system.

Methods of Romanization

There are often several standards for romanzing one language. For the Russian language the Soviet Union invented several systems, and the United Nations and International Organization for Standardization invented two of the others. Romanization methods for Arabic and Chinese are similarly diverse. Some Romanization systems are based on transcription, some on transliteration, and some are a mix.

Transcription occurs when the effect at the end is that both the original and the transcribed version sound the same, whether or not each letter alone in one text matches the corresponding letter in the other one.

Transliteration occurs when the effect at the end is for the letters to match one to one, whether or not the sound is the same.

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