Template talk:IAST

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See also[edit]


Can we get rid of the italics on the text? The use of italics on pretty much 90% of systems with some of the IAST characters (e.g. ṁ) results in wierd spacing because those letters are often substituted with other character (because mainstream fonts don't have all the IAST characters). Sukh | ਸੁਖ | Talk 14:33, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Do we need this?[edit]

Template:Unicode works just as well. --BabubTalk 10:19, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the IAST template is needed because the purpose is to specify which of several different transliteration methods is being used for the Devanagari writing system, not to specific a computer format. That is, it says that the romanization has been performed using the IAST system of romanized glyphs, and not one of the other romanization systems which would produce a different string value.
There are several different methods for romanizing the Devanagari writing system. See: Devanagari transliteration. IAST is the academic standard for transliteration. Use of the IAST tag defines which of the transliteration methods is being used. For example, the word for "self" in Devanagai is आत्मन् which is transliterated into English using IAST as ātman (with a diacritical character ā to indicate the long आ). The Harvard-Kyoto method of transliteration would write "Atman" (with a capital A to indicate the long आ). The ITRANS method of transliteration would write either "Atman" (with a capital A) or "aatman" (with two lower-case a characters). By using the IAST tag the reader can determine which of these variant romanizations is being used.
Implementations of the IAST glyphs exist in both Unicode and ASCII forms. So the Unicode tag is not interchangeable with the IAST tag.

Here I will crosspost something from Unicode template talk page regarding the same confusion there:

Using the Unicode template to display Devanagari is no longer as much of an issue as it once was due to better support for Unicode on all new computers that have been sold for at least the past two years. On a practical basis the Unicode template is rarely used on the Hinduism pages that use Devanagari. The IAST transliteration method can optionally be shown via the IAST template if IAST is used. But IAST and Unicode address completely different issues.

The IAST template and the Unicode template do different things. IAST is one of several incompatible transliteration methods for Devanagari. So using the IAST tag specifies which of the alternative methods is being used. Also note that IAST is a transliteration method for a writing system (Devanagari) which is used for multiple languages such as Hindi, Sanskrit, etc. Sanskrit is a language that can be written using various writing systems, such as Bonji, IAST, Devanagari, etc.

The template I see most often on the Hinduism pages for Sanskrit is some variant of this: ([[Sanskrit]]:{{lang|sa|गणेश पुराणम्}}; {{IAST|gaṇeśa purāṇam}}) which displays:

(Sanskrit:गणेश पुराणम्; gaṇeśa purāṇam)

Notice that no explicit Unicode tags are used. The LANG tag argument is just the raw Unicode character value.

Buddhipriya 19:56, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Font size[edit]

It seems that using this template makes the font size smaller for some reason:

Wikitext Result
The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra
The Panchatantra ({{IAST|pañcatantra}}) is a {{IAST|nītiśastra}} The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra

So using {{IAST}} makes it smaller and less readable. Can this be fixed? Shreevatsa (talk) 18:47, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

On further investigation, it seems that this template just transcludes Template:Transl, so that {{IAST|saṃskṛtam}} is just a shortcut for {{transl|sa|IAST|saṃskṛtam}}, for example. Testing above table with {{transl}} instead:

Wikitext Result
The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra
The Panchatantra ({{transl|sa|IAST|pañcatantra}}) is a {{transl|sa|IAST|nītiśastra}} The Panchatantra (pañcatantra) is a nītiśastra

Yup. So it needs fixing elsewhere. Shreevatsa (talk) 22:04, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Font selection[edit]

The font selection for terms using the IAST template is very poor. I have researched the fonts that include all the IAST characters quite a bit, and the choices here are sloppy and in some cases broken. On the Windows and Linux systems I have used, they are all switched over to god-awful monospace fonts with terrible legibility, that often do not even contain all of the IAST characters (!), when standard sans-serif fonts are readily available on all major platforms for every IAST character. This should be changed in Wikipedia, but I do not know where the code is for it, or how I can reach it. It would only take a little work to make peoples' lives easier here, and to improve the appearance of Wikipedia's articles that utilize IAST.

  • Windows: Arial Unicode MS, Microsoft Sans Serif. MSS is on every Windows system since XP, supports every IAST character, and is the same style as the Arial Wikipedia text seen by Windows users. Arial Unicode MS is basically identical in appearance to Arial and MSS, and is commonly found on Windows systems, but not on all.
  • Mac OS X: Lucida Grande is the standard sans-serif font, and includes every IAST character necessary.
  • Linux and Unix: FreeSans and DejaVu Sans are both very common sans-serif fonts that include every IAST character. DejaVu Sans is the most common font available on Linux in general.

The choices IAST fonts are really quite clear for every major OS, and I can go into much, much more detail with all sorts of other fonts that also support every IAST character, but it shouldn't be necessary. Someone, please, please, please tell me where I can go to fix this. I can put together CSS font-family lists that will work gracefully on these major platforms and blend well with the rest of Wikipedia's text. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tengu800 (talkcontribs) 05:47, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I continue to be annoyed by this too. See the section directly above this one (Template talk:IAST#Font size), as well as Template talk:Transl#Font for translated words and MediaWiki talk:Common.css/Archive 7#Ugly fonts for transliteration templates. It seems that at least on Firefox, the problem is a browser bug, but if you find an alternative reason or way to fix this, it would be great. Shreevatsa (talk) 04:17, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I'd like to agree with the complaint about this template's poor font handling. In the article Clay Sanskrit Library on my display (Firefox), the titles that use this template are ugly and poorly typeset, whereas the other titles are perfectly correct and elegant (italic formatted, and displayed in Gentium by my stylesheet). Wareh (talk) 15:38, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Not many people watch this page, so it's probably better to ask for this to be fixed either on the Firefox bug page (which will take years!), or on our Mediawiki css page. I've asked there now; see MediaWiki talk:Common.css#Get lang sa-latn to display in normal font. Shreevatsa (talk) 17:15, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Restore italics[edit]

Italics are typographically correct for transliteration. The issue raised five years ago above (transliterated characters may display strangely or be spaced wrongly in italics) is surely not an issue for most present-day computers. Please restore italics to this template. Wareh (talk) 16:33, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Italics are not necessary for all terms that use this template. For example, a look through scholarly translations of Buddhist texts that make heavy use of IAST Sanskrit transliterated terms, shows that many are not italicized, while only uncommon ones are. I have also never seen an IAST transliterated name of a person, that is italicized, and this would definitely go against typographic standards. There are also examples on Wikipedia in templates such as Template:MahayanaBuddhism, where IAST transliterations are used for some sutra names, yet italics would be quite undesirable. Typographically, the issue of whether a word is italicized / oblique, is quite different from whether it is from the native language or not. IAST terms are often not italicized at all, which is starting to become a standard style for Buddhist works. For example, the new translation of the Shurangama Sutra by BTTS has been widely praised, and contains many IAST transliterated terms, yet typically does not italicize them. The standards for italicized terms vary widely amongst publishers, and the two issues (IAST and italics) are definitely not always correlated.
As for the font issue on Windows systems, it is still quite poor, and the problem does exist (and will exist at least as long as Windows XP is common). This is because Microsoft Sans Serif is the standard fallback font for IAST characters that is available on every Windows machine. This font looks very similar to Arial in the regular style, but unlike Arial, it does not contain an italic face. The Windows font rendering then fakes an italic by artificially making Microsoft Sans Serif oblique, but it does this at an angle that is obviously too sharp, much more so than the italic face of any ordinary font. This means that even on modern computers, collisions between characters in italicized IAST text, is still common. My hope is that Windows Vista and Windows 7 corrected these issues by increasing Unicode support for Arial, but I do not know if this is the case. Font creators have traditionally been concerned with a character set that supports living European languages, rather than the largely academic use of the latin alphabet for Indic transliteration. Tengu800 (talk) 17:32, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The purpose of the template is not typography, just metadata to allow the browser to know that something is transliterated in case it can make use of it. If you want something italicized, you can always specify it so: ''{{IAST|Aṣṭādhyāyī}}'' produces Aṣṭādhyāyī. If the template had italics and you wanted something not italicized (which is rather frequent), there would be no way to do so. Shreevatsa (talk) 17:35, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
You both raise valid points. While I can accept them for our purposes here, in the end, I do think it is somewhat absurd to mark as a scientific transliteration (using the template) something that is fully enough naturalized in English as not to require any italics, e.g. if we were to write in English "Durvāsa arrives when Śakuntalā is lost in her fantasies"). I can agree that it's reasonable to have to add italics in the Wiki code when italics are desired. Unfortunately others haven't done this; I guess I'll do my minuscule part for humanity by introducing the omitted italics where the template is used for titles of literary works at Clay Sanskrit Library (it turns out they were only missing twice, and once wasn't a case of {{IAST}}; I think the horrible formatting together with those couple of cases fused into my mind and took disproportionate shape, so sorry if I've made too much of this). Wareh (talk) 20:19, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
P.S. It's too bad to hear, from Tengu800, that computers are still breaking down and using mechanically slanted obliques. This kind of thing is also the reason why the use of {{Italic title}} has become controversial for use where it is most definitely correct typesetting (e.g. articles named for book titles). I now use Vista and Windows 7 machines, and in any case I finally gave up on the Wikipedia defaults and overrode everything with Gentium via User:Wareh/monobook.css, so I'm a bit removed from the problem. Wareh (talk) 20:30, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia font selection CSS file for the IAST template[edit]

A few people (such as myself) have commented on the general awfulness of the font appearances in Firefox for the IAST template. Just wanted to let others know that this font selection is made in the following file: MediaWiki:Common.css/WinFixes.css. In this file, it is the "Unicode" class that effectively makes the decision. Since MediaWiki:Common.css/WinFixes.css is a sub-page of MediaWiki:Common.css, the best place to discuss this is probably MediaWiki talk:Common.css, which will have more eyes looking at it, and more people able to help (hopefully). I have proposed some font code in CSS that hopefully can improve things and make transliterated Indic terms actually look nice and harmonize with the rest of the text. Tengu800 (talk) 02:12, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Hasn't this been fixed already (see MediaWiki talk:Common.css#Get lang sa-latn to display in normal font)? To me they look the same as the rest of the text now. Shreevatsa (talk) 03:06, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
No, on Firefox in Windows with default settings, the font selection order is still bizarre. If you don't have any special Unicode fonts, it may be defaulting to Arial Unicode MS or Microsoft Sans Serif. Then it would look similar to the rest of the text body, and that is probably happening for you. However, if you have fonts such as Code2000, Free Serif, or any number of other large fonts, they will probably be picked first, and it can look ugly and unreadable. For example, in my situation, Free Serif is chosen, but its metrics are so different from the default sans-serif, that the text is tiny and illegible, due to its lack of font hinting. A sensible font stack is still needed that will ensure clear and smooth rendering for any Windows system. This is what I am trying to have fixed with the proposal, so everyone will have legible fonts chosen for IAST. Tengu800 (talk) 03:24, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah I see, thanks. I don't have Free Serif or Code2000; so you're probably right about what's happening. Shreevatsa (talk) 03:57, 24 August 2010 (UTC)