For example, in Vietnamese, there are Unicode characters like "â", "ê", "ô", "ư", v.v. To type them from keyboard, I need to type aa, ee, oo, w, then a program will convert them to correct characters. What is the name of that kind of program?

My purpose is to study how vulnerable that kind of software is.


3 Answers 3


I believe a keystroke composer or a keystroke translator would probably be appropriate terms for any utility which converts multiple keystrokes into individual glyphs not represented directly on the keyboard.


The general operation to transform some characters by others is a substitution. The more specific operation to transform an input message in an output of codes (such as Unicode) is called encoding. This would make your programme an encoder.

But in the end, if this is done directly at keyboard level (i.e.: you type oo and see ô) you certainly speak of the keyboard driver. Keyboard drivers for example catch dead keys to combine them with the next key.     

  • "Encoder" seems to be still generic. If I want to be more specific, what can I call? String encoder? String substituter? Somehow I feel "substitution" is more specific than "encoding"
    – Ooker
    Jul 18, 2020 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Ooker Personally, I’d call it an encoder because it’s about the right encoding of strings. But it’s true that it’s very general (often used for video or audio encoding). So substituer would indeed be more specific although a little be abstract. An other possibilities, less accurate but more understandable is « converter »
    – Christophe
    Jul 18, 2020 at 15:39

Most likely this would be the keyboard driver. Your operating system will try to find out what physical keyboard you have (that is what keys in what place). The user can usually choose the keyboard layout, that is the rules that are used to translate pressing keys into characters, which is very much language dependent.

Any reasonable software will not check which keys are pressed on the keyboard, but which characters are produced by the keyboard driver. The keyboard driver is usually combined with some other software that allows entering any unicode character, not necessarily using the keyboard.

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