In the book “Spook Country”:http://www.amazon.com/Spook-Country-William-Gibson/dp/0399154302/ William Gibson paints a picture of Cuban-Chinese gangsters who do parkour and communicate through a manufactured language called “Volapuk”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volapuk_encoding.
Gibson describes Volapuk through the character Milgrim on page 16:
bq. When the Russians got themselves computers, the keyboards and screen displays were Roman, not Cyrillic. They faked up something that looked like Cyrillic, out of our characters. They called it Volapuk. I guess you could say it was a joke.
I sometimes find myself doing a similar thing if I have to send a Japanese-language email on a Windows box that doesn’t have East Asian languages installed. But Volapuk isn’t simple phonetic translation, it selects Latin letters based on *visual similarity* to Cyrillic letters. Some letters can be encoded a number of different ways, thus, like “l33t”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L33t, Volapuk can sometimes prove difficult to translate.
With the spread of the Internet use since the 1990s (and rise of Unicode) this problem has pretty much been solved – with the exception of mobile phone-using Russian immigrants, I would suspect. Then there is the “Soviet” solution to just create a separate Russian internet, as covered by “Passport”:http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/7563 and “AE”:http://rethinkingsecurity.typepad.com/rethinkingsecurity/2008/01/report-russias.html.