Is there a recommended approach to entering Hebrew text? I see lots of it, and some questions/answers will require it (as transliterating into English works poorly).

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Also related, what "form" of Hebrew should be used: Proper grammatical Hebrew, Yiddish/Hebrew, American Hebrew, "Yeshivish"... I pretty much prefer strict use of proper Hebrew (e.g. Shabbat, not Shabbos, Shabbes, sabbath, etc...) –  AviD May 11 '11 at 13:44
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@AviD - I think, in the spirit of "think of this site as asking a crowd of your friends", pronunciation need not be standardized. Sometimes there are nuanced meaning differences between two pronunciations from the same source and other times it is simply natural variation in dialects. Either way, I don't see the need to standardize unnaturally - just maximize comprehensibility. –  WAF May 11 '11 at 15:21
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@WAF, On the other hand, though, standardized transliteration can make it much easier to search on the site, if your search contains hebrew word(s). –  jake May 11 '11 at 16:09
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@AviD @jake, if the site can decide on a single standard transliteration scheme, then someone who's aware such a scheme exists (it can be advertised) will be better able to search, yes. based on my experience at another site dealing with transliterating Hebrew, I doubt that we'll come to such agreement. But one can always hope. Most people have a way to search for Hebrew characters. Perhaps all questions (including old ones) should have any relevant Hebrew (or other Hebrew-script) words included in Hebrew characters to aid findability? –  msh210 May 11 '11 at 17:18
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I've posted this (my comment above) as a new question. –  msh210 May 11 '11 at 17:28
    
@WAF, @jake, I agree with all the above comments: if there were a standard, it would definitely help searching; however we are unlikely to achieve that. We do need to take into account that this will harm searches, but what ya gonna do... We can at least try, however, to aim for and encourage correct "pronounciation", at least, and then (hopefully) transliteration won't diverge as much. Don't forget, you would also have to account for word forms: e.g. kashrut vs. kosher vs kasher vs kashering vs... this would only get much worse if we also have to deal with non-standard pronounciation... –  AviD May 11 '11 at 17:48
    
Related to the comments above is judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9870. –  msh210 Sep 8 '11 at 18:45

4 Answers 4

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I may be mis-understanding this question, but as far as I can tell it is about typing Hebrew characters for use on the site. If so, the best method which exists (if you don't have native Hebrew support and keyboard stickers) is Mikledet and amazing online Hebrew keyboard emulator which allows you to type with your keyboard and see the Hebrew on-screen.

Additionally, I would recommend pasting Hebrew text which is copied from elsewhere (eg. Bar Ilan, Mechon Mamre) into Google Docs first to format and then moving it over to this site. This is simply because Google Docs has very good RTL support and encoding so it clears most of the formatting issues you mayb have with RTL text. (For instructions on using RTL in Google Docs see here: https://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=65166)

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Modern versions of MS Windows, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, and, I'm guessing, other (at least modern) OSes have a "character map" program that will allow you to select Hebrew letters (and vowels) one at a time and copy the lot. Windows also has an on-screen keyboard and you can add a Hebrew keyboard layout; I'm guessing other OSes have the same.

Some instructions can be found here.

Adding ‎ (for the left-to-right mark) (and sometimes ‏ (for the right-to-left mark)) as necessary helps.

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My personal policy is just to transliterate to the best of my ability and italicize. It makes it readable to the most people, which is the point of posting in the first place, and usually doesn't detract from the meaning. When transliteration loses some of the intended meaning (such as in questions about Hebrew letters or the like) I put in the original Hebrew.

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Hi Geoff,

How about using google tranlitrate? At the bottom of the page there is a bookmarklet you can add to your links and clicking on it will tranlitrate what you type in the page you are viewing.

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That looks like a way to generate Hebrew characters, but not necessarily the specific ones you want. –  Isaac Moses May 11 '11 at 1:53

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