I mentioned in a comment this morning, and michael farris said it should have its own post, so here it is. You just type English letters into the box (abcde) and Russian letters appear (абцде). As you see, c gets you ц, and you can use w to get щ (though shh will also work; it collapses sh, ch, zh, etc. automatically). I’ve used it every day since frequent commenter Tatyana told me about it. Thanks again, Tat!


  1. My pleasure.
    I was very happy to be told about it too, about a year ago.

  2. That’s neat, but why do you use it every day? Is your computer’s regular input method for Russian really sucky or something?

  3. I’ve been working on some similar Javascript transliteration code (free, under the GPL) that will hopefully be extensible to many languages.
    So far I’ve got it working with Romanian and Esperanto (easy!), and nearly working with the Cherokee syllabary (trickier!). Thanks to Daniel Yacob, we’ve even got an Amharic input system more or less working at this point, which I’d like to extend to Tigrigna, etc.
    I was also talking to Suzanne McCarthy of abecedaria about the possibility of doing something for the Vai script.
    I’d love to hear from any readers here who’d be interested in collaborating on working out transliteration input schemes for a particular script.

  4. That’s neat, but why do you use it every day?
    For me personally, it’s easier to go to that site, type in whatever I want, and go back to where I was than to switch keyboards, even though I have the language menu right above the screen. I’m sure others have the opposite inclination.

  5. Ooh, this is a real lifesaver. I just tried it for Ukrainian and it’s so nice to be able to type at a reasonable speed.
    I wonder if it’s possible to map these combinations directly somehow. It’d be more than a keyboard map, but less than an IME.

  6. Out of curiosity, what does the Lenin banner say (“Comrade!” and then something about “Russian telephone numbers”)?
    I rarely need to type Russian, but I used to do it with Windows XP’s system, which takes ridiculously long (for an alphabet so close to my native writing) because of the keyboard disposition. I had to make a note with the keys correspondance, so in some instances it might be better to get to (providing that I get the romanization right).

  7. what does the Lenin banner say… ?
    It says “Comrade! Be alert [literally ‘don’t yawn’]! Call a Russian telephone number in the USA!” The Russian, Tovarishch! Ne zevai! Rossiiskii telefonnyi nomer v SShA podklyuchai!, is a takeoff on an old slogan Эй, товарищ, не зевай! Кого хочешь – выбирай! [Ei, tovarishch, ne zevai! Kogo khochesh – vybirai!] “Hey, comrade, be alert! Vote for whoever you want!”

  8. Great! Thanks a lot, LH, for the detailed explanation (all I can remember is “Vsya vlast sovietam” and “prizrak brodit po yevropye, prizrak kommunizma”, with my apologies to all Russophones for the atrocious transcription).

  9. I thought people might also be interested in a very handy tool for Greek, including polytonic Greek, which allows you to type in Beta code with a standard keyboard and then cut-and-paste nice Unicode Greek, very much like this Russian application. Here is the address,
    A super-talented student built it for my online Greek course, which is at the website:
    (not sure if HTML is allowed in these comments…)
    Best wishes,
    Laura Gibbs
    Univ. of Oklahoma

  10. Thanks, Laura! And basic HTML works fine in the comments, though I’ve found some things (like blockquote) don’t.

  11. typegreek is way better than the site I’ve been using to convert betacode to unicode.
    In the process of getting my foreign language books into LibraryThing (still grateful for the tip back when, LH), I found out more than a layman probably should about how libraries encode text. One odd thing is that librarians, and if Google is to be trusted, only librarians, have an acronym for some of the non-Roman scripts they support. JACKPHY. Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Hebrew, Yiddish. (Pronounced jack-fee?) Oddly absent are Greek and Cyrillic (topic here, which reminded me), which are in fact supported pretty much exactly the same way. So, you find things talking about JACKPHY, Cyrillic, and Greek. Weird. Or at least I thought so.

  12. For Mozilla and Firefox users, there’s also the russkey browser extension that lets you type Cyrillic letters on a standard qwerty keyboard (in addition to translating translit). q is я, w is в, e is е, r is р, t is т, y is ы and so on.

Speak Your Mind