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Re: RE: Translingual Registrations

Yes, it's going to become a very tough job indeed!

Unless the AIS progressively evolves towards something more international , or delegates some tasks that need international expertise to a team of people coming from different iris societies from all over the world.
Big projects have always started labeled as Utopia.
But when necessity revails , then there's no utopia involved, it's basic common sense, and it's called Evolution.

For the moment, the issues are not impossible to face, but after reading Clarence Mahan's letter, one realises these issues are going to get more and more complex and we'll have to find new tools to solve these kinds of delicate problems.


----- Original Message ----- From: <CEMahan@aol.com>
To: <iris@hort.net>
Sent: Monday, January 22, 2007 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: [iris] 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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