[tlhIngan Hol] why we shouldn't do transcriptions

Hugh Son puqloD Hugh at qeylIS.net
Thu Feb 27 09:13:07 PST 2020

> On Feb 27, 2020, at 09:42, Felix Malmenbeck <felixm at kth.se> wrote:
> Is the text aimed at new readers or experienced ones?
> Is it actually being used to communicate, or is it being used as ornamentation?

Knowing your audience is a huge part of it. Most of the time, I don’t hesitate to transliterate proper names, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to write for an audience that can immediately recognize foreign names when they see them.

I do think it was an absolutely appropriate choice to transliterate Πέτρος as {pe'tlhoS}. Even if the work was not intended to be rendered in pIqaD, having Πέτρος thrown into an otherwise Klingon-with-Okrandian-orthography text would have been jarring, and using the name “Peter” would have been biased towards readers who speak languages where the name Πέτρος has been adapted to “Peter”. 

Let’s not forget the real problem here: the creators of Family Guy decided to use Bing, and Bing in turn is limited by the source material fed to it. Bing also translates “thanks” as {ghIlDeSten}, probably from the line “Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz” from Hamlet. The fact that {ghIlDeSten} is also a transliteration isn’t important here. If Klingon Hamlet had left “Guildenstern” untransliterated, then Bing would probably just translate “thanks” as “Guildenstern” instead and it would still be awful.

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