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There are a lot of ways to transliterate Sanskrit and other liturgical languages of Hinduism, and there are even more ways to transliterate the versions of Sanskrit words that have been loaned into modern Indian languages. It would be a fool's errand to try to get the whole site to agree on a standard way of spelling non-English words.

However, I would like to just ask this - in any given post you write, could you please use consistent spelling within that post? This helps our site look more professional. For example, I don't care whether you call him "Shiv" or "Shiva" or "Shivan" or "Siva", but please pick one and stick with it within any given post.

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    Yes! As an outsider I spent a few minutes the other day chasing Google results for different words used in a post I did not understand only to come to the conclusion that they all were mostly variations on the same words and I came to the conclusion that the poster was just lazy. I'm can understand there not being a way to standardize these references but please be as consistent as possible!
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 8:32
  • "It would be a fool's errand to try to get the whole site to agree on a standard way of spelling non-English words." Well, I think it would be hard to police things like Shiva versus Siva or Krishna versus Krsna, because that's just a difference in transliteration of Sanskrit. But I think it may be worthwhile to at least set the standard that Sanskrit spellings are preferable to vernacular spellings - so we should encourage Shiva over Shiv, Devaki over Devki, etc. That just makes the name more recognizable to others. Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 4:19
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    I recommend ITRANS and IAST.
    – Pandya Mod
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 10:10
  • Very good suggestion; also, where quotations within a post contain varying spellings, maybe parenthetically supply the consistent spelling directly following the term in the quotation which differs from the consistent spelling. Thank you :)
    – M H
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 4:30

3 Answers 3

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Let's pick and stick to one of these transliteration schemes in any given post:

  1. Simplified: Rama, Sita, Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna

  2. IAST: Rāma, Sītā, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa

  3. Harvard-Kyoto: rAma, sItA, ziva, viSNu, kRSNa

Avoid Hindi spellings like Ram, Shiv, Krishn, etc. as they make it difficult when searching for these terms.

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  • Agreed. And, I'm not sure why it must be a fools errand to stick to IAST only. Even if you can't type diacritics (which is built into Window's IME, so you should be able to) it's very simple to copy-paste from Wiktionary, Wisdom Library, or Wikipedia. I used to do this way for years. Yes it takers time, but a little time on one person's part save a lot of time on a lot of people's part. If a person cannot consider even this amount of selflessness... Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 4:28
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My browser (chrome) come with a spell checker installed, and luckily, it can check Hindi words written in literal English.

Wherever you feel that spelling is inconsistent, please edit it and verify all spellings with the browser's spell checker, and edit according to the suggestions given. That way, spellings shall be consistent AND standard.

This feature is specifically available in chrome, but I don't know of other browsers.

Please check if it is available on your browser, and confirm.

If its not available in your browser, try to find an extension/plugin which supports Hindi spell checking.

If you want to input literal Hindi script, you can use Microsoft Indic Language input tool freely available on Windows for phonetic typing. It works on Linux with Wine, but I am not sure about Mac.

Whatever you find relevant to this, please comment it here for the benefit of all.

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  • Can we identify some respectable website to use as a reference for standard spelling like some government site, large university etc?
    – MKaama
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 8:55
  • @MKaama If you identify one, please share it here. Cheers! Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:37
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    @MKaama When in doubt over the most canonical way to spell something checking the title of the Wikipedia page is usually the way to go. They tend to have already hashed out that issue for most terms.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 5:27
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YES PLEASE

Words like Bhagavad Gita, Maha Bharatha, Ramayana .. etc.

It's extremely messy and untidy to see so many variations.

Can we create a glossary of accepted spelling for Hinduism SE?

Also, same words in Northern India, are slightly different in Southern India. For example - Ramayana is Ramayanam, Arjuna is Arjunan.

Allowance should be given for both of these variations, and not just impose Northern style of spelling all over.

What do you guys think?

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