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Khmer Language: Fonts and Romanization

Author(s): Wanna Net, Graduate Student, Information School, University of Washington
Date Authored: January 01, 2008

KHMER FONTS

There are a number of types of Khmer fonts being used locally and internationally, but only a few of them are commonly used. Here are the links to some of those fonts that are available for downloading.

If websites include PDF documents with embedded fonts in Khmer, they need not worry about which fonts are being used. In this case, it might be worthwhile to assign relevant Khmer terms and phrases as keywords in the documents' metadata so that these documents can be easily found with commonly used search engines. In the long run it might even be worthwhile to consider having a multi-language interface including Khmer for EthnoMed in order to maximize the site's benefit and accessibility to providers in Cambodia. In this case, Khmer fonts will become necessary and one particular font should be selected as the standard for a site such as EthnoMed. This font should be made available as a link to the complete instructions on installation as well as to a diagram of the typing keyboard.

Currently, a number of web pages in Cambodia have been created in bilingual or trilingual interfaces – Khmer, English and French. Google now has created its Khmer language interface even though this interface is not yet fully and effectively operated. Also Wikipedia has launched its Khmer interface.

KHMER ROMANIZATION

Khmer Romanization refers to the use of Latin (Roman) alphabets to transliterate Khmer language according to its writing scripts. For instance, the word
Khmer_word
is transliterated as Khmaer. As with the Khmer fonts, there are quite a number of Khmer Romanization systems being used internationally. However, only two of them are formally used. The Romanization system jointly created by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Library of Congress (LC) is commonly used in the field of library and information science including the UW library that uses it for cataloging Khmer publications. Another system was created by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN). This Romanization system is mainly used for geographical areas and mapping purposes. In addition, there is a non-standard Romanization system that is commonly used in writing names or signage. (see Non-standard Romanization System. Note: IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet ). In contrast to the ALA-LC's and UNGEGN Romanization systems that are based on the writing script of a word, the non-standard Romanization system is based on the pronunciation of the word.

  • ALA-LC Romanization (PDF) (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/khmer.pdf)
  • UNGEGN Romanization: (PDF) (http://www.eki.ee/wgrs/rom1_km.pdf)
  • Non-standard Romanization: (PDF) (http://ethnomed.org)

Due to the fact that non-standard Romanization system is written based on the sound of a word, it uses the vowel sounds that are commonly seen in English writing and is commonly used among Cambodian people. This system might be the best choice for sites intended for general audiences, such as EthnoMed. ALA-LC system might be the second best option.

Reference

  • ABC Computers: Sales, Services, and Networks. ABC Khmer Fonts. Retrieved 30 August 2007 from http://www.abc.com.kh/khmer-fonts.asp.
  • Cambodian Information Center: Download Khmer Fonts. Retrieved 30 August 2007 from http://www.cambodia.org/fonts/
  • Khmer Software Initiative. Fonts. Retrieved 30 August 2007 from http://www.khmeros.info/drupal/?q=en/download/fonts
  • Library of Congress. ALA-LC Romanization Table. 1997. Retrieved 28 August 2007 from http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/roman.html.
  • United States Statistics Divisions. Geographical Names and Information Systems: Working Group on Romanization Systems. 2003. Retrieved 28 August 2007 from http://www.eki.ee/wgrs/.
  • WAZU Japan's Gallery of Unicode Fonts. Khmer Unicode Fonts. Retrieved 30 August 2007 from http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/Fonts_Khmer.html