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Thread: Foreign names

  1. #1
    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Foreign names

    Hello everybody!

    I have a question concerning foreign names, to be more exact Russian names, because I translate from Russian.

    There are first names in Russian like Timofey, Alexey, Andrey ("ey" is read as "a" in the words 'fate', 'late' etc., and not as 'ey' in kidney, Sydney etc.). Accordingly, last names are formed by adding suffixes in Russian, on doing which we obtain, in direct transliteration, Alexeev, Timofeev, Andreev.
    It does not seem to be readable in English, because, according to the rules, the combinaiton of "ee" should be read as in the words "beet", "feet" etc., and it is not so with the Russian words.
    There are also names starting with the Russian characters like "E" that consist of two sounds like "y + a", "y + u" etc. They are read as "ye" as in "yes". Still, names are very often transliterated as Esin, Eltsyn etc.

    What if I write "Alexeyev", "Andreyev" etc.? Is it any better?

    What is the best way, in your opinion, to represent Russian last names in English?
    Transliteration? Representation of sounding?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Foreign names

    When I read a foreign name, Jack, without having heard somebody say it first - such as a newsreader - I want to know how it's meant to be pronounced.

    For instance, when I first read about the Bulgarian footballer Dirk Kuyt I wondered how to pronounce that: koyt? kite? kait? It turned out to be kowt, but I had to wait for a while before hearing a commentator say it.

    If I were you, I'd write 'Eltsyn (pronounced Yeltsyn) . . .' (if I understood you correctly to mean that) the first time it appears.

    Rover

  3. #3
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack8rkin View Post
    Hello everybody!

    I have a question concerning foreign names, to be more exact Russian names, because I translate from Russian.

    There are first names in Russian like Timofey, Alexey, Andrey ("ey" is read as "a" in the words 'fate', 'late' etc., and not as 'ey' in kidney, Sydney etc.). Accordingly, last names are formed by adding suffixes in Russian, on doing which we obtain, in direct transliteration, Alexeev, Timofeev, Andreev.
    It does not seem to be readable in English, because, according to the rules, the combinaiton of "ee" should be read as in the words "beet", "feet" etc., and it is not so with the Russian words.
    There are also names starting with the Russian characters like "E" that consist of two sounds like "y + a", "y + u" etc. They are read as "ye" as in "yes". Still, names are very often transliterated as Esin, Eltsyn etc.

    What if I write "Alexeyev", "Andreyev" etc.? Is it any better?

    What is the best way, in your opinion, to represent Russian last names in English?
    Transliteration? Representation of sounding?

    Thank you
    It doesn't matter what it's pronounced like. There are standard systems of transliteration. You choose one based on what your translation is for (i.e. which system is accepted in the field). The only requirement is that your transliteration remains consistent throughout the document.

    Here is a table of some common systems:

    Romanization of Russian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Final note: some names are transliterated according to convention and not according to whatever system you use. These are well known names with established English spelling. Usually, I include a note which states which system I'm using but that well known names will be spelled according to their accepted English spelling.

  4. #4
    Mr_Ben's Avatar
    Mr_Ben is offline Member
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    Angry Re: Foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    When I read a foreign name, Jack, without having heard somebody say it first - such as a newsreader - I want to know how it's meant to be pronounced.

    For instance, when I first read about the Bulgarian footballer Dirk Kuyt I wondered how to pronounce that: koyt? kite? kait? It turned out to be kowt, but I had to wait for a while before hearing a commentator say it.

    If I were you, I'd write 'Eltsyn (pronounced Yeltsyn) . . .' (if I understood you correctly to mean that) the first time it appears.

    Rover


    Being called Bulgarian makes Dirk ANGRY!

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