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Re: RE: Translingual Registrations

In a message dated 1/22/2007 5:53:07 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  jukp@aha.ru 

The main  problem of translingual registrations is transliteration. The names
given  in another alphabets should be transliterated but really didn't.  The
records in checklist are not transliterations nor transcriptions but  not
more than a fantasy of Mr. Loktev who do  it.

I applaud Juri for his thoughtful and important comments. No where is the  
problem of transliteration more apparent than with Japanese names. Over the  
years the names of Japanese irises in the Check Lists have been romanized using  
different transliteration systems, one of which is now archaic and at least 
two  of which are based on Japanese phonology not English phonology. Then again, 
some  of the translations of Japanese names in the Check Lists are also 
One example of both the transliteration and translation problems is the  iris 
'Manazuru.' It is in the 1939 Alphabetical Iris Check List as  'Manadzuru.'  
(There is no "d" sound in Japanese but the "d" was used in an  older, now archa
ic transliteration system for a stressed "t") All of the  commonly used 
transliteration systems today would render this name 'Manazuru'  but the iris 
continues in commerce in the West as 'Manadzuru.'  Somewhat  amusingly, the Check 
List gives the translation of this name as "White  Naked Crane."  The correct 
translation is "White-necked Crane." I have  never seen crane that was not 
naked, but it does bring to mind a crane with  white skin that has lost its 
feathers.) I stress that this is one example--there  are many, many more that I 
could cite. 
Another problem with Japanese name transliteration in the past was that the  
commonly used Hepburn transliteration system uses macrons over long vowels, 
but  the Check Lists have never used the macrons. The macron is especially 
important  with the long "o" sound, which in Japanese is a longer sound than in 
English.  Japanese hybridizers today are using a totally different 
transliteration system  that places a "u" after an "o" that is long. For native English 
speakers who are  not aware of this practice, it will highly improbable that the 
name will be  pronounced anything near the Japanese pronunciation.
(The problem of the macron is apparent in chapter 4 of my book. The book  
editors, following standard style guides, insisted on replacing the  macron in 
transliterated Japanese names with the circumflex. My  objections were to no 
avail and I decided it was not an issue on which I  cared to fall on my sword.) 
If (when) the Chinese start registering irises, I shutter at the  
transliteration problems. The most commonly used system for transliterating  Chinese name 
today (the pinyin system) is the official Chinese government  system. If you 
do not understand the rules you will never be able to  pronounce the name. 
Would you pronounce an "x" as "sh" or a "g" as "k",  etc. etc.?  
Thanks to Juri for his most thoughtful and useful comments. Pity the poor  
Registrar! Clarence

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