A Romanization or Latinization is a system for representing a word or language with the Latin alphabet, where the original word or language used a writing system other than the Roman alphabet. Three methods may be used to carry out Romanization: transliteration, transcription and phonemic conversion. Each Romanization has its own set of rules for pronunciation of the Romanized words.
Some languages have more than one system of Romanization; Mandarin, for example, has several, including Wade-Giles, Yale, Gwoyeu Romatzyh, MPS II, Postal System Pinyin, Tongyong Pinyin, and Hanyu Pinyin; and Cantonese has Jyutping, penkyamp, Gwohngdongwaa pengyam, Sidney Lau, Barnett-Chao, Meyer-Wempe, EFEO, and Yale.
In Mainland China, Hanyu Pinyin has been used officially for decades, primarily as a linguistic tool for teaching Standard Mandarin (the standardized Chinese spoken language) to students whose mother tongue is not Standard Mandarin, and has been adopted by much of the international community as a standard for writing Chinese words and names in the Roman alphabet. The value of Hanyu Pinyin in education in China lies in the fact that China, like any other populated area with comparable area and population, has literally thousands of distinct dialects, though there is just one common written language and one common standardized spoken form.
Main article: Korean romanization
Until 2002, the official system in South Korea was the McCune-Reischauer system, which is still used in North Korea. Today, South Korea officially uses the revised version of Romanization that was approved in 2000. Road signs and textbooks are required to follow these rules as soon as possible, at a cost estimated by the government to be at least US$20 million. Proper names are still left to personal preference, but the government encourages using the new system. A third system—the Yale Romanization system—is used mainly in academic literature. During the period of Russian interest in Korea at the beginning of the 20th century, attempts were also made at representing Korean in Cyrillic.
There is no single universally accepted system of writing Russian using the Latin script — in fact there are a huge number of such systems: some are adjusted for a particular target language (e.g. German or French), some are designed as a librarian's transliteration, some are prescribed for Russian traveller's passports; the transcription of some names is purely traditional. All this has resulted in great reduplication of names. E.g. the name of the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky may also be written as Tchaykovsky, Tchajkovskij, Tchaikowski, Tschaikowski, Czajkowski, Čajkovskij, Čajkovski, Chajkovskij, Chaykovsky, Chaykovskiy, Chaikovski etc.
See also Transliteration of Russian into English.
The Belarusian language has been written with both Cyrillic and Latin scripts. Today the Latin script (Łacinka or Łacinica) is rarely used (although it has its advocates). Still it would seem that Belarusian has already a native romanization system, so we need not to invent anything. However, usually Belarusian names are transcribed differently, using a system like that for the Russian language. Names are then changed like this: Homiel → Homyel', Mahiloŭ → Mahilyow, Viciebsk → Vitsebsk, Baranavičy → Baranavichy, ˇytkavičy → Zhytkavichy etc.
There is a long tradition in the west to study Sanskrit and other Indic texts in Latin transliteration. Various transliteration conventions have been used for Indic scripts since the time of Sir William Jones. In 2001, a standard transliteration convention was codified in the ISO 15919 standard, which very much resembles the "Library of Congress" and IAST schemes. It uses diacritics to map the much larger set of Brahmic consonants and vowels to the Latin script. Other schemes use upper and lower case and doubling of letters, to avoid the use of diacritics. The Indian character encoding standard ISCII treats the romanized form as one among many script choices.
In antiquity, Romanization or Latinization was also the imposition of Roman culture and language.
de:Latinisierung fr:Romanisation fi:Latinisaatio