How to Quickly Transliterate Greek and Hebrew

hebrew transliteration

“Transliteration” is not the same as “translation.” Tranliteration brings just letters across the divide between languages (if indeed the languages don’t already use the same alphabet). Спасибо becomes spasibo; 國語 becomes Guóyǔ. Scholars transliterate when they are writing about a foreign language for people who don’t speak or read it; they also do it sometimes, truth be known, because they themselves can scan text more quickly in their “mother characters,” the alphabet they’ve used since childhood.

I can transliterate pretty quickly in Greek, but Hebrew is more difficult, because its phonemic (sound) and orthographic (spelling) system is so much further from English than Greek is. And Hebrew transliteration presents even more options and requires even more choices. Sometimes you just need a simple transliteration to place in the footnote of a piece written for non-specialists. Sometimes you need a precise transliteration for an academic audience. Or (and this is my most common use of the tool) you need to keep the Hebrew text but strip out all the vowels, or all the cantillations—those myriad special marks I won’t get into describing here.

The Text Converter tool in Logos 6 does all that and more. Check it out.

Look at what Logos can do with the very first verse of the Hebrew Bible:

hebrew transliteration

You get similar options with Greek:

greek transliteration

If you are as excited right now as I was when I discovered this tool, you know who you are. I don’t usually like to front “efficiency” in Bible study of any kind, because my main goal is not quickness but depth. And I still think you should learn how to transliterate “by hand” before you lean on this techno-wonder-crutch. But transliteration—again, especially in Hebrew—can be very laborious, even for those who are good at it. It’s okay to outsource this one.

***

This tool is available in all Logos 6 base packages, and right now they’re up to 15% off. Upgrade your base package now to save 15%. Questions? Call our Resource Experts at 888-875-9451.

Share
Written by
Mark Ward

Christian, husband, father, writer, ultimate frisbee player when possible.

View all articles
Written by Mark Ward