Unidecode is an excellent project which aims to downcast all Unicode characters to ASCII. The author describes the project thus:

Text::Unidecode is meant to be a transliterator of last resort, to be used once you’ve decided that you can’t just display the Unicode data as is, and once you’ve decided you don’t have a more clever, language-specific transliterator available– or once you’ve already applied a smarter algorithm and now just want Unidecode to do cleanup.

Inspired by Victor Mair’s article Pinyin for phonetic annotation I’ve created this small tool to annotate unicode characters in the Ruby way.

Enter text in the box below and see it annotated at the bottom. You can even choose which way round you want the glyphes displayed: original unicode big, or “pinyin” big.