For the sake of uniformity, should we incorporate a standard (when editing and/or composing a question) for transliterating or transcribing Hebrew? For example, ISO 259, which if I am not mistaken, is the standard being used by Susan and David.


1 Answer 1


I'm not sure uniformity is a practical or important goal. We have plenty of problems with the quality of questions and answers around here, and there are plenty of areas where we need to push both new and experienced users to do better; adding an insistence on a particular transliteration style doesn't seem to me like a good use of anyone's time.

For the record, I think David and I are using the SBL system (to his credit), which seems to be pretty widespread in academic texts (with some variation around the vocal shewa).* If things are to be standardized, I would advocate for that. Not everybody has these characters readily available on their keyboard, though. There are several different simplified versions that are fairly transparent. I don't have any objection to people continuing to use these.

* Ironically, shortly before you posted this Meta questions I posted this answer where, in the one word transliterated, I made the decision to deviate from SBL and use f rather than p. Figuring that most of the audience was non-Hebrew readers, I decided that offering an approximation of the pronunciation was more important than standardization. (This came back to bite me when transliterating the suffixed form later on, and now the connection between the two terms is probably completely opaque, which just goes to show that SBL rules are smarter than I am, but the principle remains.) It's nice to be able to do that.

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