The term transphonation refers to a phoneme-by-phoneme representation of discourse. This transliterator skill is generally used to convey accents, dialects, and foreign languages. The ability to transphonate accurately is assessed as part of the Cued Language Transliterator National Certification Examination.


Due to the phonemic nature of Cued Speech, transliterators are able to represent the discourse of others at the level of single segments. In other words, when cueing a sentence like, The children are playing in the creek. A CLT can cue the word creek containing a vowel segment like the one in seek or like the vowel segment in sick depending on the dialect in the source message. Therefore, not only is the word-for-word English message transliterated, the sound-for-sound pronunciation is also conveyed through transphonation.

Foreign languages may also be conveyed through Cued Speech. It should be noted that two languages may not contain exactly the same repertoire of segments. For example, in spoken French there are sounds that do not occur in spoken English. Foreign words and sentences can be conveyed by selecting the closest available phonemes in the Cued Speech system of the user. It should be noted that adaptations of the original Cued Speech system have been created that include all the phonological segments of a language so that they can be conveyed clearly. transphonation is a means to convey the flavor of a foreign language in the system already available by the receiver.