The ISO international standard ISO 9 establishes a system for the transliteration into Latin characters of Cyrillic characters constituting the alphabets of many Slavic and non-Slavic languages.
The major advantage ISO 9 has over other competing systems is its univocal system of one character for one character equivalents (by the use of diacritics), which faithfully represents the original spelling and allows for reverse transliteration, even if the language is unknown.
Earlier versions of the standard, ISO/R 9:1954, ISO/R 9:1968 and ISO 9:1986, were more closely based on the international scholarly system for linguistics (scientific transliteration), but have diverged in favour of unambiguous transliteration over phonemic representation. The edition of 1995 supersedes the edition of 1986.
The standard features three mapping tables: the first covers contemporary Slavic languages, the second older Slavic orthographies (excluding letters from the first), and the third non-Slavic languages (including most letters from the first). Several Cyrillic characters included in ISO 9 are not available as pre-composed characters in Unicode, neither are some of the transliterations; combining diacritical marks have to be used in these cases. Unicode, on the other hand, includes some historic characters that are not dealt with in ISO 9.
The following combined table shows characters for various Slavic, Iranian, Romance, Turkic, Uralic, Mongolic, Caucasian, Tungusic, Paleosiberian and other languages of the former USSR which are written in Cyrillic.
Here is an example transliteration. The text in Cyrillic is the chorus of the hymn of the Russian Federation:
GOST 7.79 contains two transliteration tables.System A
one Cyrillic character to one Latin character, some with diacritics – identical to ISO 9:1995
one Cyrillic character to one or many Latin characters without diacritics
This standard (System B) appears to have been used in 2014 for the transliteration of street names on street signs in Moscow; its unusual appearance and non-intuitive sound values gave rise to criticism in the media.
The verbatim translated text of ISO 9 is adopted as an inter-state standard in the countries listed below (the national designation is shown in parentheses). Other transcription schemes are also used in practice, though. Russia (GOST 7.79)
Armenia (GOST 7.79)
Azerbaijan (GOST 7.79)
Belarus (GOST 7.79–2000, adopted 2003-03-01)
Kazakhstan (GOST 7.79)
Kyrgyzstan (GOST 7.79)
Tajikistan (GOST 7.79)
Turkmenistan (GOST 7.79)
Uzbekistan (GOST 7.79)
ISO Recommendation No. 9, published 1954 and revised 1968, is an older version of the standard, with different transliteration for different Slavic languages, reflecting their phonemic differences. It is closer to the original international system of slavist scientific transliteration.
The languages covered are Bulgarian, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Serbian and Macedonian. ISO 9:1995 is shown for comparison.Bulgarian
ъ and ѫ are not transliterated at the end of a word (where it occurred in the pre-1945 orthography).
Russian and Belarusian
ъ is not transliterated at the end of a word (where it occurred in the pre-1918 orthography).
ISO/R 9:1968 permits some deviations from the main standard. In the table below, they are listed in the columns sub-standard 1 and sub-standard 2.The first sub-standard defines some language-dependent transliterations for Russian (ru), Ukrainian (uk), Belarusian (be) and Bulgarian (bg).
The second sub-standard permits, in countries where tradition favours it, a set of alternative transliterations, but only as a group.