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The following question

Fractional-order Rellich–Kondrashov Theorem

uses the Cyrillic alphabet to write "Kondrachov", and I wanted to know what was the policy of the website concerning this vaguely "snob" practise? Of course this is not specific to Cyrillic, and Chinese would be another good example, while I have not seen such an example yet. I think the main issue is that it might be hard to track down the real name (even if in this specific case, "Rellich" made it easy).

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    $\begingroup$ There is no policy that I am aware of. But with Google Translate, it's usually not really hard to get the transliteration into Roman characters. (One of our active participants signs in using his native Georgian alphabet, which I don't know, but I learned through Google that his name using the English alphabet is spelled "Mamuka Jibladze".) $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 14 '17 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Prof. Trimble. I just thought that even with Google Translate, translating Chinese or Japanese names which can have a lot of readings would be quite difficult. And for a user's name it is absolutely fine, as there is no ambiguity for references. $\endgroup$ – Paul-Benjamin Jan 14 '17 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ It would be good to know if others have had difficulties here. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 14 '17 at 12:50
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    $\begingroup$ it breaks the search functionality, and just for that reason is preferrably avoided (until search becomes smarter) $\endgroup$ – Carlo Beenakker Jan 14 '17 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ @CarloBeenakker You raise a good point I hadn't considered. To all: I think there's a good chance that the author of the linked question was just trying to be respectful to the native spelling of a mathematician, and not trying to be show-offy or snobbish. I'd be happy to go in and change the title though. The only question that remains is: should it be Kondrachov, or Kondrashov? I've seen both. The name might be Ukrainian in derivation, in case that makes a difference. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 15 '17 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ What is important, IMO, is to respect the standard romanization of names from cyrillic and other alphabets, and to respect the correct spelling of latin alphabet names as well. It is both for a matter of respect to the person (Lebesgue non Lebesque, Hölder non Holder, Lipschitz non Lipshits, etc), and for the sake of a correct and useful information. $\endgroup$ – Pietro Majer Jan 15 '17 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ The spelling of the Russian name in the question is inappropriate anyway. The accute accent over o is a stress mark that is not used in regular Russian text, only in dictionary or encyclopedia lemmata, language textbooks, and similar contexts. It's as if someone spelled an English name with syllabification dashes, as many dictionaries do. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek Jan 15 '17 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ I made an edit and (maybe temporarily) put in 'Kondrashov'. Paul-Benjamin may be right though that the spelling that appears standard in the literature is the one we should use. (This reminds me a lot of the Neumark/Naimark discussion that we had once, an instance of which is here: mathoverflow.net/questions/25878/…. Dmitri Pavlov's point largely hinged on which spelling was used by the author himself in non-Russian journals.) $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 15 '17 at 11:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Paul-Benjamin I would not call Yosida an error in romanisation. In the Gojūon, the "table of fifty sounds", し, or "shi", is placed in the I-column on the S-row. There are multiple ways to romanise Japanese, each with their benefits and downsides. One that turns 吉田 into Yosida is not ideal for English speakers that lack an understanding of the Japanese language. It's rather systematic, however. The advantage of such a system is: Both おう and おお are pronounced as a long "o" in Japanese. But if you transcribe them as ō, you lose information that would help a Japanese person understand a sentence. $\endgroup$ – anonymous Jan 15 '17 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek Thank you for pointing that out. I took the original spelling from a dictionary indeed since I don't speak Russian myself. The transcription I'm most familiar with for the author's name is Kondrachov, which I did not want to use because it suggests an incorrect pronunciation (indeed, most of my collegues pronounce his name incorrectly). Maybe there's a good reason to use that spelling anyway. Kondrashov is rather non-standard, I think, and I did not want to start a debate (that certainly backfired) and so I left his name un-transcribed. $\endgroup$ – anonymous Jan 15 '17 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Paul-Benjamin Oh, I agree completely. I've come across many that end up mispronouncing his name as a result of the "Yosida" transcription. But as I tried to motivate in my comment above, aiding pronunciation is not the sole purpose of transcription, although for languages whose writing system is closer to English these separate features are not as distinguished. $\endgroup$ – anonymous Jan 15 '17 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that not everybody has a MathSciNet subscription to check on standard conversions to the Latin alphabet for authors (which may differ from what is 'correct' outside of mathematics) $\endgroup$ – David Roberts Jan 16 '17 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ From Donald Knuth (www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/news.html): "Later, when I typeset the index to the second edition of Volume 2, using an early prototype of TeX in 1980, I had the ability to include Chinese and Japanese names in their native form. And by the time the third editions came out in the 1990s, I was also able use Greek, Hebrew, and Cyrillic alphabets, and to present Arabic and Indian names in appropriate native scripts. At last I did not have to rely entirely on transliteration when listing the name of the father of algorithms, Abu Ja‘far Mohammed ibn Mūsā al-Khowārizmī... $\endgroup$ – Steve Huntsman Jan 16 '17 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ "...I even hand-crafted an ancient Sumerian name by using METAFONT to draw the necessary characters of a cuneiform alphabet. Over the years, many people have told me how they've greatly appreciated this feature of my books. It has turned out to be a beautiful way to relish the fact that computer science is the result of thousands of individual contributions from people with a huge variety of cultural backgrounds." $\endgroup$ – Steve Huntsman Jan 16 '17 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ I find it bizarre that the OP calls the transliteration of the name (more precisely, one transliteration of the name) 'the real name'. $\endgroup$ – HJRW Jan 17 '17 at 5:59
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I think the argument could be made that using such characters is a practice counter to the vague "snobbish" practice of this forum to insist on being primarily English based while intending to serve all of the research mathematical community, many of whom do not have English as a first or second language.

Switching from destructive to constructive mode, I think it is reasonable and well within forum policy to request an edit (which you can submit and someone can approve) to include in parentheses a searchable romanization. I imagine a good policy for this forum is to tolerate, persuade, and correct, rather than to police and enforce.

Gerhard "Values Greatly Depend On Perspective" Paseman, 2017.01.14.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much Prof. Paseman. By policy, I did not mean any interdiction, and the first statement raises a point I can only agree with, as English is my third language. $\endgroup$ – Paul-Benjamin Jan 14 '17 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ I should work on more constructive ways to deal with things that bother me. Thank you for tolerating my response. And you are welcome to call me Gerhard. Gerhard "Still Enjoying His Amateur Status" Paseman, 2017.01.14. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Jan 14 '17 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ I also think that writing an authors name in the original alphabet (additionally to her/his English latinized form) disambiguates the sometimes existing plethora of unofficial regional translations (in Germany one has Tschebyscheff and Tschebyschow, while English speakers know him as Chebyshev). So a name additionally written in its original alphabet is also some kind of respect for that person (IMHO). $\endgroup$ – Manfred Weis Jan 24 '17 at 13:08
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Perhaps it is worth pointing out that various people might use various transliterations of surnames from Cyrillic.

This can be seen already in this case. You can see that Wikipedia article on Rellich–Kondrachov theorem transcribes Кондрашов as Kondrachov in the title, but it says that it is named after Russian mathematician Kondrashov. And you can find articles using both Kondrachov and Kondrashov.

As you can see from the long list given here, this is not the only case. (For example, there are many different spellings of Tychonoff or Chebyshev.) This is not the case only for Russian names. German names containing scharfes S or umlauts might appear with different transcriptions, too. (For example, Kaehler, Weierstraß.)

Therefore I think that mentioning that there are several possible transliterations might be useful for users who want to find more about the topic of the post. Adding the original Cyrillic name might be useful, too. But this should be done in addition to the English transliteration, since that is what typically people would use when searching using the internal SE search engine.

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    $\begingroup$ Only now I noticed that before I posted the answer, the OP already explained in a comment what was their rationale for using Cyrillic. This makes some parts of my answer a bit redundant, but probably there is no harm if I leave it here. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 15 '17 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ For the record, the "ch" for ш is French convention. As explained in the linked Wikipedia article, this was the norm e.g. for passports until 1997, and would hence tend to be "the official" transliteration for anyone who is old enough to have had their passport issued then. $\endgroup$ – tripleee Jan 30 '17 at 9:51

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