Transliteration Scheme

General notes

  • Please use double quotation marks, except where "a quotation is 'within' a quotation". Long quotations of 40 words or more should be indented without quotation marks.
  • Section headings should be concise.
  • Authors must also incorporate SI units. Units are not italicized.
  • When using a word which is or is asserted to be a proprietary term or trade mark, authors must use the symbol ® or ™.
  • If aligning words over several lines (e.g. to illustrate parallel syntactical structures), please indent the words using tabs not the space bar.

Transliteration Guidelines

1. Overview

For the transliteration of New Persian, authors may follow one of two methods, depending on their discipline and/or personal preference:

  1. The Iranian Studies guidelines
  2. The system used by the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES)

The conventions of the Iranian Studies guidelines are detailed in section 2. For more information about IJMES, please click here; a convenient reference chart is available here. Whichever approach is chosen, it must be strictly and consistently adhered to. Failure to do so will result in the submission being rejected, even if it has passed peer review. Section 3 on formatting should be followed by all authors, irrespective of their transliteration system.

The transliteration of Avestan should employ the system of Karl Hoffmann; for Old Persian, R. G. Kent's Old Persian (New Haven, 1953); and for Middle Persian, D. N. Mackenzie's Concise Pahlavi Dictionary (London, 1971).

For the transliteration of Arabic and Ottoman Turkish, authors should utilize IJMES in a manner consistent with their rendering of New Persian (i.e. preserving or ignoring diacritics other than macrons).

NB: IJMES makes a distinction in the way it renders Arabic ة (/-a/) and its Persian counterpart ه (/-ih/); cf. al-wilāyāt al-mutaḥḥida vs. iyālāt-i mutaḥḥidih. Authors who wish to use IJMES may ignore this distinction and simply write /a/ or /i/ as appropriate, thus ki for که, nāma for نامه, and mutaḥḥida for متحده.

For other languages (e.g. Armenian, Hebrew), authors are advised to use the relevant ALA-LoC Romanization Table.

2. The Iranian Studies Scheme


ب b ج j د d س s ع ل l
پ p چ ch ذ z ش sh غ gh م m
ت t ح h ر r ص s ف f ن n
ث s خ kh ز z ض z ق q و v
ژ zh ط t ک k ه h
ظ z گ g ی y

Vowels and diphthongs

a (dast) دست ā (kār) کار ay (hay) حَی āy (āy) آی
e (gereft) گرفت i (did) دید ey (pey) پِی ow (rowshan) روشن
o (shod) شد u (bud) بود uy (guy) گوی oy (khoy) خوی

NB: The above tables reflect the standard variety of Persian spoken in Iran. It is important to acknowledge that there are other equally important varieties and dialects that do not follow this format. However, providing separate tables for each variety and dialect is beyond the scope of this guideline. Authors working on different varieties of Persian (e.g. Tajiki, Dari, Indo-Persian) as well as those working on other Iranian languages (e.g. Kurdish, Pashto) or dialects (e.g. Kurmanji Kurdish, Yazdi Persian) may make modifications as needed; the same goes for authors working on classical Persian.

Other rules: The following points are presented as best practices. However, different disciplines may require different methods, and in such cases, internal consistency is the most important factor.

  • The long vowel alef is represented with a macron (ā), not a circumflex (â).
  • Please use /ʾ/ (Unicode 02BE), and not a closed inverted comma [’] for hamzeh (ء).
  • Please use /ʿ/ (Unicode 02BF), and not an open inverted comma [‘] for eyn (ع).
  • The tashdid is represented by a doubling of the letter, e.g. bachcheh, takhassos. The glide /y/ does not follow this rule, e.g. adabiyāt not adabiyyāt.
  • When the letter ه is used to mark the final vowel /e/, it is kept in transliteration, e.g. beh, keh, nāmeh, shodeh, dowleh.
  • The ezāfeh is written as /-e/ after consonants, e.g. ketāb-e, and as /-ye/ after vowels, e.g. daryā-ye, khāneh-ye.
  • The author may choose to utilize hyphenation in other cases, such as to separate particles, enclitics, and compounds, as long as there is consistency throughout the manuscript.
  • There is no need to transliterate familiar names such as Isfahan, Ilkhanid, Mossadegh, etc. However, when using a direct quote, retain the original form, e.g.: "There is a popular saying about the city of Isfahan: esfahān nesf-e jahān ast." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a useful guide for anglicized words; if more than one variant is recorded, use the one that aligns most closely with your selected method.
  • The transliteration of other scholarship in quotation should not be altered.

3. Formatting

  • If quoting a long passage, use a block quote in the original script, followed by an English translation.
  • Use footnotes, not endnotes.
  • It is not required to include English translations of book or article titles that are not originally in English.
  • If aligning words over several lines to illustrate parallel syntactical structures, use the tab bar, not the space bar, to separate each word. The English translation, in a full sentence, will follow on the third line, e.g.:
                      khāneh    virān   ast
                      house     ruined  is
                      The house is ruined.

Reference style: Iranian Studies uses the Chicago Notes + Bibliography style of references. Please refer directly to the Chicago resources for styling and examples.