Friday, October 02, 2015

Oh, dear - the Toys Я Us transliteration strikes again

Here's a listing from Biblio.
You may not be able to read Cyrillic, but the book's title is МОРФОЛОГИЯ СОВРЕМЕННОГО РУССКОГО ЛИТЕРАТУРНОГО ЯЗЫКА, Morphology of the Contemporary Literary Russian Language. Interestingly, in one place they transliterated ИЯ (i ya) as just YA, and later they transliterated the Я as YA by itself. Puzzingly, the word ЛИТЕРАТУРНОГО (literary) has its И (i) become an E, and a Y has appeared from nowhere. (Well, maybe not: Russian E is yotated, but the same letter is in СОВРЕМЕННОГО, twice, with no leading Y.

What's worse is their inability to recognize the font used on the book jacket. What they've shown as M is really a lowercase T. You can see a difference between the м's in морфолгия современного and the m's in лиmераmурного:

So what should be LITERATURNOGO becomes LEMYERAMURNOGO. I call this Toys Я Us because it involves mapping the Cyrllic letter to the Latin one it most resembles. After all, the Cyrillic 'r' is P, and the Я is 'ya'. This isn't the worst example I've seen, which is:
Mohymehtajibhar nponarahia
Монументальная пропаганда
(and which should be rendered as Monumental'naya propaganda). But it's up there.

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At 12:43 PM, October 02, 2015 OpenID q-pheevr had this to say...

Huh. Is that a common typographical design choice? I know that an italic or cursive Cyrillic lowercase т normally looks like a Roman lowercase m, but the title is set in a rather square-looking sans-serif face, and the other letters don't seem to have particularly cursive-looking forms. (I'm looking at the г in particular, since that would be one of the more distinct ones. Maybe the и does, though? But I can't quite make it out at this resolution.)

At 1:09 PM, October 02, 2015 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Aren't the "ОГО"s also better transliterated as "ovo"? Or are they actually pronounced "ogo"?

At 7:23 PM, October 02, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

It depends on what system you use. OVO is the pronunciation but most systems still use a G.

At 7:24 PM, October 02, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

It's far more common in italic, but this is not the first time I've seen it on book jackets. You also see it in magazine article titles on occasion.


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