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ASCII transliterations of Unicode text that recognize CJKV complex charactors


You can run it on python interpreter(in 2.x):

    from unihandecode import Unihandecoder
    d = Unihandecoder(lang='zh')
    print d.decode(u"\u660e\u5929\u660e\u5929\u7684\u98ce\u5439")

    # That prints: Ming Tian Ming Tian De Feng Chui 

    u = Unihandecoder(lang='ja')
    print d.decode(

    # That prints: Ashita ha Ashita no Kaze ga Fuku

There are some other examples in tests/

You can also learn from actual applications which use unihandecode, such as


It often happens that you have non-Roman text data in Unicode, but you can't display it -- usually because you're trying to show it to a user via an application that doesn't support Unicode, or because the fonts you need aren't accessible. You could represent the Unicode characters as "???????" or "\15BA\15A0\1610...", but that's nearly useless to the user who actually wants to read what the text says.

What Unihandecode provides is a function, 'decode(...)' that takes Unicode data and tries to represent it in ASCII characters (i.e., the universally displayable characters between 0x00 and 0x7F). The representation is almost always an attempt at transliteration -- i.e., conveying, in Roman letters, the pronunciation expressed by the text in some other writing system. (See the example above)

These are same meaning in both language in example above. "明天明天的风吹" for Chinese and "明日は明日の風が吹く" for Japanese. The character "明" is converted "Ming" in Chinese. "明日" is converted "Ashita" but single charactor "明" will be converted "Mei" in Japanese.

This is an improved version of Python unidecode, that is Python port of Text::Unidecode Perl module by Sean M. Burke


It use a setuptools library to build and test.


You install Unihandecode by running these commands:

    make clean
    make install

If you got egg package, it is easy to install by $ easy_install Unihandecode-0.44-py2.7.egg


To build egg package;

    make dist


To do unit test, run

    make test


This library uses pickler that format is depend on platform and python version. You should re-create dictionary for each python version. To avoid a dependency problem, always recommend to run make clean before build.


Questions, bug reports, useful code bits, and suggestions for Unihandecode are handled on


The latest version of Unihandecode is available from Git repository in

and Eggs are on

WARNING: There was Bazzar repository named unhandecode. It has NOT been maintained and moved github entirely.


Unicode Character Database: Date: 2010-09-23 09:29:58 UDT [JHJ] Unicode version: 6.0.0

Copyright (c) 1991-2010 Unicode, Inc. For terms of use, see For documentation, see

Unidecode's character transliteration tables:

Copyright 2001, Sean M. Burke, all rights reserved.

Python code:

Copyright 2010-2014, Hiroshi Miura Copyright 2009, Tomaz Solc


Unihandecode Copyright 2010-2015 Hiroshi Miura

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

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