Transcription is difficult, as is rendering foreign names in English

We grant you that.

Nonetheless, you have to make an effort.

Okay, so you heard something that sounded like …"the French thinker, Rojee Garudi …" If you're in the dark, you have to make an educated guess. I looked up "French philosopher Roger" – and immediately found Roger Garaudy.

It is not okay to hand in a translation about "Silvio Birliskoni" -> Berlusconi, nor

"Austrian counselor, Wefkink Shosel" -> Austrian chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel.

Similarly, you can't back-translate or make up names and titles.

E.g. It's not "the general manager of International Agency for Nuclear Power", but "the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency"; and the name of the chairman is not Ahmad Baradai but Mohammed El-Baradei.

One of the accepted spellings of חומיני is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; there must be others, but not Aiat Alla Ali Khaminai, I think (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not on solid ground here); and he is the "supreme leader", not the "superior guide".

Onwards and upwards, brave defenders of language!

6 comments:

Miriam Erez said...

I always love this one: Translating the surname שורק as *shorek*. It's the valley, guys, not the bird!

Yael said...

Axtually, regarding Aiat Allah, it's not so bad. This is too words in the original Arabic too (and the Farsi is just using the Arabic word, here). Same as Abdallah, which is originally two words: Abd Allah.

Yael said...

(Grrr... to correct a tired typo: axtually -> actually)

Sparkle said...

Is it actually written as two words though? Or is it written as one? I'm just curious. I mean there are plenty of names in Hebrew that derive from two words (e.g. Daniel or anything else ending in el)but writing Dani El is hardly acceptable.

Yael said...

To sparkle:

At least in classical Arabic, all X-Allah names are written in two words (and are also subject to the different cases [casus], which is why it isn't always Abdallah or Hizbullah - it can be Abdu-'llahi, Abda-'llahi or Abdi-'llahi, depending on context). In more colloquial writing such names might be merged into one word, but that is definitely not 'Derech ha-Melech'.

As for Ayyat Allah, there is a chance that in the Farsi use, and because it is an official title, it has been merged into a single word; I haven't actually gone and checked this. But I doubt if that is the case, because of the way Arabic tends to work.

Sparkle said...

I see... thanks for the info :)

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