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Thread: Russian Cirilic names translate into Latin confused

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    Russian Cirilic names translate into Latin confused

    Hello,

    I don't understand how the Russian/Slavic version of Michael
    '' Михаи́л '' can be translated in English Latin into Mikhail. Where is the K in the cirilic Russian version.
    It says Mihail if I'm not wrong?
    What is the correct version Mihail or Mikhail?

    Also the name '' Николай '' how can this become Nikolay or Nikolai in English. If й = J then how can it become Y? Shouldn't it be Nikolaj?

    Thanks in advance for you're help!

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    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
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    Ultimately, the transition from Cyrillic letters and Russian words into Latin letters making English borrowed words is fairly arbitrary. An English "t" is nothing more than a poor emulation of a Russian "т". Transliterating will always lose most of the qualities of the original. That being said, people (linguists I guess sort of) have collectively decided that Russian х is to be written in Latin alphabet as kh. H is often used in English as a modifying letter to the previous letter so it seems to make a little sense. Mikhail is the correct transliteration, Michael is the correct translation if you ask me. The main problem with all this is that no school teacher is going to be taking roll call in their classroom and think "Ah yes, Mikhael, I know that kh is the transliteration of Russian х, so I shall pronounce this with a velar fricative.". No. They will think "Ah look, a k!... What's that h doing there? Ah well, k it is then." and then proceed to say Mikael or something. Then again, it is totally and completely unnecessary that an English speaker pronounce Mikhael the way a Russian would, they're not speaking Russian and can't be expected to change their tongue mid sentence. Anyway, the magical mystical list in the sky says that "y" represents ы from Russian. If j were used then people would just read it as дж and that's apparently too obviously off for whoever decided the transliteration. However Russians want to spell their words in Latin is up to them, nothing wrong there, kh can be х all they want. But when you try to get an English speaker to read a word transliterated with an oblivious set in stone list then pronunciation becomes neither close to the original nor comfortable to pronounce. Nikolay, people'd think Niko- lay.... Or maybe they'd know it meant Nikolai. It's all just a mess. For instance, the word Soviet from совет, English speakers added a syllable because it wasn't spelled Sovyet... Ultimately for the best there I guess.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Russian
    Here, every system used transliterates ы as y even though English speakers consider y to be a consonant. Exposure to the Russian pronunciation also affects the dilemma. A Russian pro gamer named ХВОСТ was spoken about by English commentators who decided to pronounce it hvost (with the breathy h of English), not the read pronunciation of the supposed standard "khvost".
    I think it's important for people to realize that their name gets no special place for translating things. Just as a rock has a different name in Russian, so should Steve. The translation should fit the tongue of the new language not try to resemble its original form. My name is Noah Russians call me Нова, not ноуа, and especially not Ноах because neither the English spelling nor the English pronunciation should be followed, just what Russians hear and subsequently repeat. And Russians ought to then spell what they've heard according to *their OWN language's* rules: Новой, Новы, Нову.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXHoax View Post
    Ultimately, the transition from Cyrillic letters and Russian words into Latin letters making English borrowed words is fairly arbitrary. An English "t" is nothing more than a poor emulation of a Russian "т". Transliterating will always lose most of the qualities of the original. That being said, people (linguists I guess sort of) have collectively decided that Russian х is to be written in Latin alphabet as kh. H is often used in English as a modifying letter to the previous letter so it seems to make a little sense. Mikhail is the correct transliteration, Michael is the correct translation if you ask me. The main problem with all this is that no school teacher is going to be taking roll call in their classroom and think "Ah yes, Mikhael, I know that kh is the transliteration of Russian х, so I shall pronounce this with a velar fricative.". No. They will think "Ah look, a k!... What's that h doing there? Ah well, k it is then." and then proceed to say Mikael or something. Then again, it is totally and completely unnecessary that an English speaker pronounce Mikhael the way a Russian would, they're not speaking Russian and can't be expected to change their tongue mid sentence. Anyway, the magical mystical list in the sky says that "y" represents ы from Russian. If j were used then people would just read it as дж and that's apparently too obviously off for whoever decided the transliteration. However Russians want to spell their words in Latin is up to them, nothing wrong there, kh can be х all they want. But when you try to get an English speaker to read a word transliterated with an oblivious set in stone list then pronunciation becomes neither close to the original nor comfortable to pronounce. Nikolay, people'd think Niko- lay.... Or maybe they'd know it meant Nikolai. It's all just a mess. For instance, the word Soviet from совет, English speakers added a syllable because it wasn't spelled Sovyet... Ultimately for the best there I guess.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Russian
    Here, every system used transliterates ы as y even though English speakers consider y to be a consonant. Exposure to the Russian pronunciation also affects the dilemma. A Russian pro gamer named ХВОСТ was spoken about by English commentators who decided to pronounce it hvost (with the breathy h of English), not the read pronunciation of the supposed standard "khvost".
    I think it's important for people to realize that their name gets no special place for translating things. Just as a rock has a different name in Russian, so should Steve. The translation should fit the tongue of the new language not try to resemble its original form. My name is Noah Russians call me Нова, not ноуа, and especially not Ноах because neither the English spelling nor the English pronunciation should be followed, just what Russians hear and subsequently repeat. And Russians ought to then spell what they've heard according to *their OWN language's* rules: Новой, Новы, Нову.
    X in cirilic is H so how can it be MIKHAEL instead of Mihail. If thats the case shouldn't they have K in the cirilic version also.

    What I mean to ask with both names is what is the correct original Russian translation to latin.

    Not what fits the English Language or another. If it's still Mikhael then it's still strange to me.

    For instance here in Serbia Михаило = Mihailo and Никола = Nikola. And we don't change the name to something different because it fits the other toung better. Noah would be Ноах but I guess Russian is much diffrent then Serbian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    X in cirilic is H so how can it be MIKHAEL instead of Mihail. If thats the case shouldn't they have K in the cirilic version also.

    What I mean to ask with both names is what is the correct original Russian translation to latin.
    It looks like you didn't read.
    It is just relatively common rule in russian-english practice. It is not absolute, and it is controversial one.
    Compare to "Genghis Khan" / "Чингиз Хан".
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXHoax View Post
    My name is Noah Russians call me Нова, not ноуа, and especially not Ноах because neither the English spelling nor the English pronunciation should be followed, just what Russians hear and subsequently repeat.
    I had pal from some of post-soviet middel-Asia republics, whose name originally was 'ноорУз' ('first day of spring' in his native language). However 'нооруз' doesn't fit well in russian in the same way as your name. So, finally, he called himself 'новорУз'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    It looks like you didn't read.
    It is just relatively common rule in russian-english practice. It is not absolute, and it is controversial one.
    Compare to "Genghis Khan" / "Чингиз Хан".
    Actually I did read. But it's still strange. I can't imagine a Russian in Russia translating his own name from Mihail automaticly into Mikhael that just doesn't make Any sense.

    I'm not talking About the correct English - Russian form. I want to know the correct Russian form in latin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    Actually I did read. But it's still strange. I can't imagine a Russian in Russia translating his own name from Mihail automaticly into Mikhael that just doesn't make Any sense.

    I'm not talking About the correct English - Russian form. I want to know the correct Russian form in latin.
    An average Russian might go with Mihail for Михаил, yes. The thing is an average Russian doesn't really need to do this kind of transliteration on their own. Maybe when buying things off of an international web-store or something, but when it comes to credit cards, visas, international passports etc, the translitiration is done by people who know better These people will put Mikhail in there, I assure you. Why? Simply put, it's a common practice right now, the "rules" for it are all but set now. Then, an average Russian will just copy their Latin written name off of those official documents, bank cards when they need to do this themselves.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iCake View Post
    An average Russian might go with Mihail for Михаил, yes. The thing is an average Russian doesn't really need to do this kind of transliteration on their own. Maybe when buying things off of an international web-store or something, but when it comes to credit cards, visas, international passports etc, the translitiration is done by people who know better These people will put Mikhail in there, I assure you. Why? Simply put, it's a common practice right now, the "rules" for it are all but set now. Then, an average Russian will just copy their Latin written name off of those official documents, bank cards when they need to do this themselves.
    Alright but how did they come up with a "K" isn't the Russian pronunciation of Михаил, Miehaieel and not MieKhaaiel. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not trying to say that you are wrong but I'm just saying it doesn't make any sense to me. But I'm already informed with the way they Americanize most last names in America from the former Yugoslavia which is plain wrong to me but whatever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    Alright but how did they come up with a "K"...
    Well, let's examine wiki.
    First of all look for "Michael" in english: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael
    Well, look at hebrew root:
    Mīkhāʼēl, pronounced [miχaˈʔel]
    Note, that 'kh' is used to represent this sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voicel...ular_fricative. We can play audio file and it definitely sounds as russian 'х'.
    To make things more complex:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voicel...ttal_fricative
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voicel...geal_fricative
    All these 'х' sounds similar to me. But last two seems to be depicted via 'h', opposed to 'kh' of the first one.

    So I think russian translators adopted 'kh' of adoption from hebrew.

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    What I mean to ask with both names is what is the correct original Russian translation to latin.
    Mihailo, you, Serbians, are lucky — you have a standard romanization of your Cyrillic alphabet.
    Russian language does not have one unfortunately. There’s no single “correct original Russian transliteration to latin”, there are lots of different systems used in different situations. It’s a total mess!
    Wikipedia — Romanization of Russian
    Please correct my English

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft sign View Post
    Mihailo, you, Serbians, are lucky — you have a standard romanization of your Cyrillic alphabet.
    Russian language does not have one unfortunately. There’s no single “correct original Russian transliteration to latin”, there are lots of different systems used in different situations. It’s a total mess!
    Wikipedia — Romanization of Russian
    Alright so basicly there isn't a correct translation from Russian Cirilic to Latin. We always spelled the Russian version of Michael as "Mihail" which I always thought was correct. I could understand it beeing Michail also but Mikhail is unlogical because you don't really say the K but more like Mee-Gha-iil but what ever.

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    As I said above 'kh' is not russian invention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    As I said above 'kh' is not russian invention.
    Sorry, I didnt see you're reaction. Well I guess those are pro American translations MiKhail and NikolaY. I don't understand why Russians would go with that translation if "KH" isn't theirs. They should translate there names etc more like we Serbs or the Bulgarians do. We don't Americanize or what ever you want to call it our names/words when translating from Cyrilic to Latin.

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    Don't you read that 'kh' and 'h' are different sounds? It is not relevant to americanization. Try to google 'kh sounds'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    They should translate there names etc more like we Serbs or the Bulgarians do. We don't Americanize or what ever you want to call it our names/words when translating from Cyrilic to Latin.
    I totally agree with you!
    The thing is that it probably was not Russians who invented this. Since Russian has no official romanization system, other languages had to invent a way how to transliterate Russian words. Different languages use different systems. French transliteration used to be popular earlier. Now, when English is dominant, English transliteration is used most commonly.
    Please correct my English

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    Don't you read that 'kh' and 'h' are different sounds? It is not relevant to americanization. Try to google 'kh sounds'.
    Ofcourse they are different sounds. But KH isn't the sound beeing made while saying the name. It is pro-americanized no other then the Americans (English speakers) translate Михаил to Mikhail. We Southern Slavs translate it to Mihail
    some other western European countries translate it to Michail which is also 10 times better then MiKhail. Just like they translate in America Serbian Surnames like Radonjić to Radonchich or something like this thats BS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft sign View Post
    I totally agree with you!
    The thing is that it probably was not Russians who invented this. Since Russian has no official romanization system, other languages had to invent a way how to transliterate Russian words. Different languages use different systems. French transliteration used to be popular earlier. Now, when English is dominant, English transliteration is used most commonly.
    It's a shame they don't have an official romanization of Russian created by Russia. It isn't that much work. Besides they would really help the Russians who live abroad in countries where Latin is used. They would actually help everybody lol. I don't see a reason not to do this.

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    God damn. Looks like dialogue with deaf man.
    There ARE official russian rules of transliteration. Bunch of them. Link to wiki was given above. 'kh' is used for 'х' in more than 50% of them.
    At first it looked like you didn't read. Now it looks like you canot keep in mind relevant memories. There are different 'х' sounds. For some reason russian translators often get 'kh' as base for our 'х'. 'kh' is not russian invention.

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    P.S.
    To say the truth I also prefer simple 'h' instead of 'kh'. Problems with simple 'h' can arise where english uses complex lettering, like 'gh', 'ph' and so on. But in 'Mihail' it's ok.
    Also I do not want to look rude. But there was said enough here. I saw no reason to ask "why kh?" after several posts ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihailo View Post
    It's a shame they don't have an official romanization of Russian created by Russia. It isn't that much work
    I don't see a reason not to do this.
    https://xkcd.com/927
    Please correct my English

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