Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am looking for a table for converting German diacritics into their non-diacritic character combination equivalent. For instance that table would indicate that the umlaut ü may be converted to ue).

Does such a table exist, and if so, could someone share a link to it?

share|improve this question
Note: "it may be converted", but it's definitely wrong (and ugly) to do it in German. –  splattne Aug 7 '12 at 10:02
@splattne: it's for use in URLs, see webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/33032/…. In that question I've given an example showing the Bundesliga using that approach, so I'm thinking it might not be that bad if such big companies are doing it. –  user359650 Aug 7 '12 at 11:46
you're right, in URLs and Internet domain name it's absolutely okay. –  splattne Aug 7 '12 at 17:49
See also german.stackexchange.com/questions/4994/… German ID-cards use converted names in the machine readable zone. –  knut Aug 7 '12 at 18:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • ä → ae
  • ö → oe
  • ü → ue
  • Ä → Ae
  • Ö → Oe
  • Ü → Ue
  • ß → ss (or SZ)

The SZ is only for words in capitals (and I think for old spelling).

Für LaTeX-Nutzer gibt es auch die Umschreibung "a, "o, "u, bzw. "A, "O, "U (bzw. \"a, \"o, \"u, bzw. \"A, \"O, \"U)

You are also asking for a kind of official link.

Maybe Din 5007 helps a bit. That's a norm for sorting. An "ä" is either treated like an "a" (variant 1 of DIN 5007) or like an "ae" (variant 2).

share|improve this answer
We should add that if the whole word is in capitals we may convert like AE, UE, ... –  Takkat Aug 6 '12 at 21:37
"SZ" for "ß" is old and obsolte. Always replace "ß" by "SS" if the word must be written in capitals. In swizzerland you don't use "ß". The swizz name for the letter "ß" is "Doppel s". In Germany "ß" is called "esszet" and in Austria "scharfes s". –  Hubert Schölnast Aug 9 '12 at 6:24
There is in meantime also a capital-ß. It's unicode U+1E9E –  knut Aug 10 '12 at 19:04
The only occurrence of SZ for ß I ever heard of was on teletypes for military communications. –  starblue Aug 10 '12 at 19:54
@starblue: AFAIK before the spelling reform, you were supposed to use SZ in cases where there's another word which is written with ss. For example, you'd capitalize "in Maßen" as "IN MASZEN" because there's also "in Massen" which gets capitalized as "IN MASSEN". –  celtschk Aug 13 '12 at 13:56

For another official link I recommend the ICU project (International Components for Unicode). It basically is a database for all(?) languages/scripts and how to convert, sort and compare words to be used by computer programs.

They have a ICU Transform Demonstration which demonstrates the transform rules. For German, you can start with "Latin" as "Source 1" and "ASCII" as "Target 1". The example "Names (Variant)" is very impressive as well as it can transliterate Korean(?), Cyrillic, Greek to Latin.

share|improve this answer
I think the Latin->ASCII transform you describe with convert "ä", "ö", and "ü" to "a", "o", and "u", respectively, not "ae", "oe", and "ue". –  Rob Dec 20 '14 at 19:55

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.