Ating Baybayin (Our Filipino Script)
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Translation Tips

(Mga Payo)

Baybayin symbols differ from the English alphabet. With Baybayin, each symbol represents a syllable, while each character in the English alphabet represents a sound. What complicates matters is that not all sounds found in the English language (or others) are represented in the Baybayin script. There are also few rules to follow as far as using the Baybayin script with Tagalog words.

Though I'm no expert in Baybayin, I've compiled the following tips to help you use my Baybayin CGI-script translator better. Most of these tips are based on my best "guesstimates" and are not based on any books or studies. A few of the tips found here are from the generous help given by Hector Santos, and are duly noted. If you wish to learn more about the Baybayin Script and other ancient Filipino scripts, go to Hector's website at

Using Baybayin with Tagalog
I've done my best to make my Baybayin CGI-script translate Tagalog words more accurately. The CGI-script translates most Tagalog words without any problems. However, there are still a few rules you need to keep in mind.

Use the Original Tagalog Alphabet
The original letters of the Tagalog alphabet that are represented in the Baybayin script are as follows:


Where is the "R" you say? The letter "R", though part of the modern Tagalog alphabet, is not represented in the Baybayin. Originally, I thought that the equivalent of the letter "R" was the letter "L", but as Hector Santos writes:

Traditionally, /d/ and /r/ were interchangeable and were allophones in intervoacalic positions (marumi and madumi). It only becomes a /l/ at the end and if the word id of foreign origin.

Fortunately for you, the script makes the correction automatically, so go ahead and type in those "R's".

Use Proper Hyphenation
Tagalog syllables come in either Vowel (V), Consonant-Vowel (CV), or Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) format. This made it easier to write the CGI-script, but caused some minor problems as well.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember my Tagalog classes correctly (It's been 14 years since high school), the proper way to add a prefix to a word that starts with a vowel is to hyphenate.

The Tagalog word for singer would be "mang-a-awit" and the CGI-script would translate this properly as "ma a a wi", giving you the following symbols:
ma a a wi-we
However, if you enter the word without the hyphens, "mangaawit", the CGI-script would translate it as "ma nga a wi", giving you the following symbols:
ma nga a wi-we
The latter translation, though it drops one less consonant, is an incorrect pronunciation.

Words that are doubled are also hyphenated. Words like "ilang-ilang" are translated differently than if the hyphen were left out.

Spell It As It Is Pronounced
Some words you may need to play with a little. If you use the original Baybayin script, the word "ng" will not be printed and the word "mga" will be printed as "ga". Type in "nang" and "manga" to get the proper translation.

Be careful to spell words like "tanggap," "linggo" and other words with the "nga-ga" combination properly. I notice many people misspell these words as "tangap" or "lingo." This would produce an incorrect result. Eventhough "Lea Salonga" is the proper spelling of a famous singer's name, using Baybayin, it should be spelled as "Le-ya Sa-long-ga."

Modern Tagalog Words Rooted from Spanish or English
There are many different rules for these types of words, but I am not well versed in them. However, Hector Santos provided me with a couple of them that I could share with you:

...words like Francisco, cristiano, and Trinidad which were originally pronounced Pa-ran-sis-co, ki-ris-ti-ya-no, and ti-ni-dad (and written as pa-da-si-ku, ki-di-ti-ya-no, and ti-ni-da).

Syllables with Consonant-Consonant-Vowel form (e.g. "Tri") are either split and made into 2 separate syllables by adding a vowel in between the two consonants, or one of the consonants is dropped. So the word "trabaho" might be written as "ta-ra-ba-ho," and my own last name, Quimson, could be spelled as "Ku-i-mi-so."

Using Baybayin with English
Alphabet Translation Tips
The Baybayin CGI-script will only process letters from the original Tagalog alphabet. Only the following letters will be processed:


Many sounds that are used in the English language are not found in Tagalog. I have come up with the following table to help you find (what I believe to be) the closest sounding match.

Sound or Character
Translation Tips
If followed by anything but an "I" or an "E", use the letter "K".
"CI" or "CE"
Use "SI" or "SE".
Use "SI".
I have no direct translation for the "CH" sound found in the word "church", but you may use the letter "K" in place of the "CH" found in the word "Christian".
Use the letter "P".
"J" or
"G" as in
The closest sound I can find in Tagalog is the "diya" sound, where "jacket" becomes "diyaket" and "Joel" becomes "Diyo-el" or "Diyowel". "George" would become "Diyords" If used as part of a Spanish word, "J" would become an "H".
Use the letter "K".
The best I could come up with is to replace the "SH" with "SIY". For example, type in the word "shampoo" as "siyampu". If the "SH" is found at the end of a word, replacing "SH" with the letter "S" should work.
Use the letter "B".
I have no suggestions for this sound.
Use the letter "Z".

Use the Spanish Version of the Baybayin Script
Foreign Languages such as English have more complicated rules than Tagalog. There really is no easy way to write English words using the original Baybayin script. Using the Spanish modified version would provide much cleaner results. If you would rather use the original script, I suggest finding the direct Tagalog translation instead of typing the actual foreign word or type in the word how it would be pronounced in Tagalog instead of typing in the correct spelling. Here are a few examples:

company - kampani
bathroom - batrum
candy - kendi
Joseph - Diyosep
universe - yunibers

Remove Silent Letters
Do not type in silent letters. The name "Rosanne" would be translated by the CGI script as "ro-sa-ne" if the correct spelling were entered. Though it would look closer to the original, it would not be pronounced correctly. To get the closest translation, type in "ro-san" instead. Make sure you use the Spanish version though, or "ro-san" will be written as "ro-sa" in the original Baybayin.

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