Dear Alphabettes: How do you translate your header for various languages?

Dear Alphabettes,
How do you translate the Alphabettes header for various languages and writing systems?


When I was doing an Arabic header for the blog, I decided to use a Persian transliteration. This was fairly straightforward, except for two letters, the ‘S’ and the ‘T’. In Persian phonology, the /s/ phoneme can be represented with three letters (س – ص – ث) and the /t/ phoneme can be represented through two letters (ت – ط). I made the choice to stick to the most widely used form of each of these letters in different languages that use the Arabic script, namely the Sīn (س) and the Tā (ت). So for instance I could have used the Thā (ث) for /s/, but this letter often corresponds to /th/ in the Arabic language, so I avoided it. Also, Persian does not have grammatical gender and does not maintain a distinction that would make it necessary for me to add anything to the transliteration to make clear I was referring to a group of women—🙌—but I know that this is something Liron had to consider for her header…


Here is another case of great similarities between the Arabic and the Hebrew scripts! Apart from making the same decision about which letters wouldn’t look odd, just like Sahar did, I had another challenge. Unlike Persian or English, Hebrew uses grammatical genders. The word Alphabettes has to be female, so it would be ending on either ‘h’ (ה) in singular or ‘t’ (ת) in plural. So if Alphabettes were a group of women, they would be “Alphabetot“. Since there is no Hebrew word as such, but the ending is very Hebrewish, it looked odd. Luisa solved the problem when suggesting to decide if I should transliterate by thinking how I am describing Alphabettes to my friends in Israel. I am saying Alphabettes just as it sounds! So now the ending is “ס”, combining Hebrew letters and a Latin word.


Do you also have a question about transliteration, the universe, or everything else? Tweet at us @alphabettes_org and if the answer doesn’t fit into a tweet, we may reply here.

1 Comment Dear Alphabettes: How do you translate your header for various languages?

  1. Zen

    Thank you Alphabettes for choosing my header. I am very excited to share with everyone. This would be my first online design for a website.

    I have a description regarding the header.

    Description of the language I choose because of the pronunciation and letters which I think was more suitable for Alphabettes header.

    વર્ણમાળાઓ Varnamalao : Alphabettes in gujarati/hindi language.
    Varnamalao was more suitable because of its sound and rhythm of the characters when I was designing the header and it a translation of the word. Indian language and script can be written and merge into two different scripts likewise Gujarati and Devanagari.

    અલ્ફાબેટટસ Alphabets : English to Gujarati transliteration – Choice of this characters for the header was unreal to me. The setting of the Gujarati characters didn’t conveyor had any visual appeal to it.

    મૂળાક્ષરો Alphabets : is a proper translation of Alphabets in Gujarati language but because it used as other subjective word and more of a generic term I choose to used Varnamalo.
    It was fascinating when I was designing the header as per my style of character stacking, વર્ણમાળાઓ had very strong and box case title appearance which would be more visible as an identity. And the choice I made for the Gujarati characters were according to their open counters, vertical heights with less disturbing marks and flexibility of each other, so overall it happen to be a good combination of the characters. Also Indian languages are tend to fall on gender grammar, the voice of this header would more inclined towards feminine.


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