Johannes de Saximontis scripsit:

> Did you know that the current ISO standards for
> transliterating Cyrillic make no difference anymore
> between languages? This makes Ukrainian look exactly
> like Russian, with for example a horrible creature
> like "=EE"(I mean: i macron) to represent Ukrainian "i".
> Aaaargh!

That is the purpose of a *transliteration* standard: mapping
between scripts independent of specific language or orthography.
If you have a bunch of cyrillic, you can apply ISO 9 to romanize
it and be 100% sure that whoever receives the Latin form will be
able to reconstruct the original exactly, even a dumb computer.

*Transcription* standards map between orthographies, and are
language-specific.  A Russian-to-German transcription sensibly
produces "Gorbatchow", but in English we would take that to
rhyme with cow!  Sometimes transcriptions get borrowed, though,
which is why we have Tschaikowski (or Tschaikovski, or -sky) in
English instead of a fairly sensible Chaikovsky.

I remember a self-appointed "English usage" guy, not Safire but
one of the others, fussing about the use of transliterations
(in the sense defined above) in English, claiming that they were
ugly and unreadable (true), and asking for transcription instead.
Unfortunately, he went overboard and applied the same rule to
Polish, too!

John Cowan <[log in to unmask]>
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_