Are there 2 letter ISO codes for the pinyin or hepburn transliterations? If not, are there non-ISO abbreviations in common use? Thanks.

  • 2
    As I recall and from what I understand, Hepburn is not used for transliterating Chinese, but Japanese. I've been wrong before though. Jul 9, 2018 at 15:38
  • Yes, I know this. I should have been more clear.
    – posfan12
    Jul 13, 2018 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


ISO has codes for languages (ISO 639), and for scripts (ISO 15924); but it has no codes for transliterations, as you can see by perusing ISO's standards on Writing and Transliteration. ISO adopts and standardises transliterations; but unlike languages and scripts, it has not catalogued them.

Using existing ISO codes, zh-Latn means "Chinese in Latin Script", and zh-CN-Latn means "Chinese in Latin Script, localised to China"; but that just implies "Pinyin" (and what country would we attribute Hepburn to?) It is not a solution.

I can't find evidence that there are standard codes for transliterations anywhere else either. A 2011 IETF RFC draft for transliteration codes went nowhere.

  • 1
    In GNU/Linux computer environments (or others using the GNU libc), locales can have "variants" following an at-sign. So uz is Uzbek but uz@cyrillic is Uzbek in Cyrillic; Kashmir has ks@aran (Perso-Arabic script) and ks@deva (Devanagari), etc. There aren't any for transliterations so far, but this "variant" system isn't used just for scripts; it includes things like dialects (sr@ijekavian), typographic tuning (en@quot), even jokes (en@piglatin). Of course, this isn't any sort of standard; I'm only commenting the existence of this system for completeness' sake. Jul 10, 2018 at 16:41

ISO has some standard romanization systems listed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ISO_romanizations. Pinyin is ISO 7098, but unfortunately no other systems of Chinese romanizations have been given ISO codes so you may not find this useful.

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