BSSScribe documentation page

BSSScribe, aka “Black Speech School's (trans)scriber”, is the official transcriber of Nûrlâm dialect into Tengwar or Cirth available at


There are already many transcribers available, but none of them correspond to description of Black Speech mode at Amanye Tenceli or do not have it at all. Glǽmscribe is close to perfection, but for some reason it uses Quenya mode for diphtongs in Black Speech.

Unicode support

Currently, BSSScribe supports only legacy Daniel Smith's encoding for these reasons:

  • There are more fonts available for it;
  • There are two concurring Unicode proposals, both not approved for 15+ years;
  • Wikipedia articles provides older and obsolete one character map, not supported by currently popular fonts; e.g. articles say character U+E018 is used for “rómen” (1993 proposal) but it's mapped to “extended tinco” (2001 proposal) in majority of fonts;
  • Unicode proposals have limited number of characters and their variants (e.g. no s-hooks), compared to Daniel Smith's version. Existing fonts have them, but their encoding is not standartized;
  • Some Unicode fonts require additional third-party library to work as intended, as the result export as text will be useless;
  • Lack of free time

Limited support for Unicode CSUR encoding was added on 2022-09-30, currently with only 3 fonts.

How to use

Please note, that text for transcription should be spelled correctly according to chosen language. Any inappropriate characters will be encoded wrong or skipped. For example, this tool will not convert Qenya “k” to Late Quenya “c”, so the result with Qenya may be wrong.

  • Whitespaces are ignored, but you can use underscore ( _ ) or non-breakable space (Alt + 0160) to force a space;
  • Apostrophe ( ' ) is treated as glottal stop in Tengwar Black Speech mode;
  • Diaresis over vowels in Tengwar Beleriand mode forces overdot, “ ï ” also forces a long carrier with overdot;
  • Symbols “~” and “%” may be used to force “S-hooks” (unvoiced and voiced respectively) in Tengwar (only if option for automatic placing of S-hooks is turned off);
  • Symbols “>” and “<” may be used as start and end text markers, as in Ring Inscription;
  • Symbols “@” and “|” force “ossë” and “halla” in Quenya mode;
  • Only decimal numbers are accepted (no automatic re-basing to duodecimal system);
  • Symbol “\” may be used in any tengwar mode to “escape” the following character – it will remain the same in Dan Smith's encoding – use to insert additional tengwar unknown to BSSScribe;
  • BSSScribe supports (experimentally) “raw-tengwar” syntax compatible with Glǽmscribe, Tecendil but with some extensions (full list will be published later after proper testing);
  • Symbols “|” and “_” may be used in English mode to imitate J.R.R. Tolkien's writing, e.g. “here|in”, “of_the”, “and|e” to render as in DTS 5 (97RË5%, W:, 2P#È accordingly).
  • Symbols “*”, “%”, “[”, “]”, “{”, “}”, “=”, “`”, “~”, “/”, “|”, “\” are used for pseudo-graphics with Cirth Erebor fonts 1 and 2;
  • Cyrillic mode of Tengwar is based on Benct Philip Jonsson proposal (Download PDF). Except “щ” in Russian is encoded with alternate tehtar “aha” A instead of “aha” with palatalization diacritics ; rare reversed tehtar for nasalized vowels are encoded with combination of nasalization mark and regular tehtar with fonts that don't support reversed tehtar.

Scheduled improvements

  • Better Unicode support
  • Better interface
  • More fonts
  • More modes (General Mode for Sindarin, more English modes)

Fonts Credits

  • Alcarin Tengwar font by Toshi Omagari (aka “Tosche”)
  • Cirth Erebor font series by Daniel Steven Smith
  • Elfic Caslin and Tengwar Optime fonts by Peter Wiegel under SIL Open Font License
  • Free Mono Tengwar font by J. “Mach” Wust and Johan Winge
  • Tengwar Annatar font series by Johan Winge
  • Tengwar Artano font by Shankar Sivarajan (based on Johan Winge's Tengwar Annatar Italic font)
  • Tengwar Beleriand, Tengwar Elfica and Tengwar Gothika fonts by Enrique Mombello
  • Tengwar Cursive by Harri Perälä (disabled for compatibility issues)
  • Tengwar Eldamar and Tengwar Parmaite fonts by Måns Bjorkman
  • Tengwar Formal font by Michał Nowakowski; CSUR encoding version by Johan Winge & J. “Mach” Wust
  • Tengar Hereno font by Paulo Otto and Ronald Kyrmse
  • Tengwar Noldor, Tengwar Quenya and Tengwar Sindarin fonts by Daniel Steven Smith, free for non-commercial private use
bssscribe.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 00:59 (external edit)