Found in, uh, Translation

Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics, put up an interesting post over on the Freakonomics blog a little earlier this evening about a copy of the book he just received which had just been translated into Serbian and released:

It seems that whoever performed the translation (perhaps localization is the better term after reading the post) also took the liberty of translating the authors’ names for them:

The second thing I noticed is that it was written by Stiven D. Levit and Stiven Dz. Dabner. Isn’t it strange to change the names of the authors? I can see if you are using a different alphabet you might not have a choice, but would it be normal to take the second “t” off my last name, or to turn “Dubner” into “Dabner?”

One of the chapters in the book was focused entirely on popular names in the US and amusingly they were also changed. A commenter on the post suggests:

It’s common in Eastern Europe to print foreign names using their prounciation. Hence I grew up learning about Waszyngton located in Wirginia named after Jerzy Waszyngton.

The blog in general is quite good but be sure to give this post a quick read at the very least.

To the language professionals out there I ask – what is the “rule” around this?

  • Lauren Nemec

    I’m an American living in the Czech Republic, and I’ve noticed that they “localize” female celebrity names.

    Nicole Kidman will become “Nicole Kidmanová”. Bridget Jones of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” becomes “Bridget Jonesová.”

    ~Lauren
    http://www.translatusinc.blogger.com

  • Ryan

    Interesting… thx for stopping by :)

    Ryan