Recent events in Libya have us wondering: How do you write Khadafi?

There are at least 96 permutations on his last name alone, and this causes problems for writers and search engines alike. How do we put Arabic script into English letters, and how do computer systems bridge the gap?

UWA linguist Daniel Midgley spells it out on this week’s Talk the Talk.

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Show notes


Why is it so darn hard? This Wikipedia page shows the Arabic characters and some suggested Roman (English) equivalents.

It’s not the first time Arabic Romanisation has come up.

How he transliterates his own name.

Ninety-six permutations at least.

How do computers do it? Here’s a recent scientific paper, if you’re really keen.