Yiddish Typewriter די ייִדישע שרײַבמאַשינקע

Instructions are below. You might prefer using the interactive shrayberke.
Either enter your text here:
or upload from this file:

Input format
YIVO transcription
MS-Windows Hebrew
Mac Hebrew
Ladino (Romanized)
Output format
Spelling check
YIVO transcription
IPA transcription
MS-Windows Hebrew
Mac Hebrew
Image (GIF)
Sound (MP3)
Spelling rules
Algemeiner Zhurnal


This facility does not translate English or German into Yiddish. It just interconverts various Yiddish representations. Unless you select other input and output forms, you are expected to type in YIVO transcription format and you get back a spelling check of your text. Once it looks right, you can select instead to receive your text in various other output forms. You might want to use cut-and-paste from other programs to enter your text.

GIF is a picture format. This option will display a picture of your text in Yiddish letters. GIF output is limited to one visible page of text. If you want GIF for a long document, split the document into pieces and collect the separate GIF output files. PostScript is a printer format; it is only useful if you have a PostScript viewer (for Win 32 or for a Mac) or a PostScript printer. PDF is the portable document format viewable and printable by Adobe Acrobat or, on Unix, xpdf. Unicode is a multi-alphabet encoding supported by most browsers. Mac and MS-Windows have coding methods for Hebrew if you have the Hebrew language kit. If you want to enter your text in MS-Windows code for the shraybmashinke to convert, make sure you tell your browser that your page is in Hebrew Windows encoding. QText is a multilingual text editor for MS platforms. Lingomail is a multilingual mail composer and reader for MS platforms.

When you ask for definitions, you may type any number of words in either English or Yiddish. Each word will be searched in the dictionary. The dictionary is a work in progress and is not being built by professional lexicographers. Don't rely too heavily on it.

YIVO transcription format

YIVO transcription format uses the following consonants:

b g d h v z kh t y l m n s f p ts k r sh tsh zh dj
the following vowels:
a e i o u oy ay ey
and the following special punctuation:
The following sentence is correctly transliterated.
ikh bin gekumen azoy vayt tsu shraybn a bisl mame-loshn!

You can use the | character as a nonprinting character to circumvent usual orthography rules. For instance, write oys|heyln instead of oysheyln to avoid the sh turning into a shin; write elt|stn instead of eltstn to avoid the ts turning into a tsadik.

If you want a compound built on a Hebrew root, try separating the Hebrew root from prefixes and suffixes by |. For instance, farkholemt should be written far|kholem|t so that the Hebrew lookup succeeds.

Don't use capital letters except for the first letters of Hebrew proper names (like Refoyl and Binyomen).

If you have a number, write it forwards (1997, not 7991). This rule also holds for numbers with embedded punctuation, all of which is treated as a region of left-to-right text within the normal right-to-left rendition of Yiddish (such as 5-17-1997).

If you need a Hebrew word, first spell it phonetically. Unaccented vowels often should be spelled with an "e", as in borekh, bimkem, and maskem. If the spelling checker accepts your input, it should be spelled fine in the output. If you have misspelled slightly, the spelling checker will suggest a substitute. Otherwise, mail will be sent to the maintainer, and the word should appear shortly on the spelling list. If you need Hebrew before then, you may use the following letters:



By default, text output in GIF, PostScript, or PDF will be formatted to fit standard pages. This formatting is performed by TeX. Consequently,

In addition to standard TeX commands, there are some pseudo-TeX commands you may use in your YIVO input. They must be on lines by themselves.

Algemeiner Zhurnal

The Algemeiner Zhurnal spelling has the following characteristics:

  1. There are no lines (rofe) above the veys and fe.
  2. A silent alef is placed between vowels where otherwise one would need a dot (melupn vov or khirik yud) to disambiguate letters.
  3. There is no sin-dot.
  4. There is no pasekh-tsvey-yudn; the reader must be able to know when tsvey-yudn is (1) Northern Yiddish /aj/, Polish Yiddish /aː/, Ukrainian Yiddish /a/, and when it is (2) Northern and Ukrainian Yiddish /e/, Polish Yiddish /aj/. (The letters between solidus signs are IPA symbols.)


There are online references for Unicode, also known as ISO 10646, Yiddish in Unicode, UTF-8, UTF-7 (which we don't use), MS Windows Hebrew, and Mac Hebrew. You can also find out about the internationalization of HTML; the HTML 4.0 specification includes support for Unicode and for bidirectional text. The Algemeiner Zhurnal spelling is a variant of the klal-takones fun yidishn oysleyg.

This page (and all the freely available Unix software it invokes!) is maintained by Refoyl Finkl. It is mentioned in Key Resource. Feel free to send me (without the underscore) mail if you are having any trouble transforming your Yiddish text.