Spring 1998 (6.1)
Ukrainian Names and Transliteration
Because of the relevancy of the following topic to Azerbaijan's situation, we reprint the following letter from Ukrainian Weekly with their permission.
During the Figure Skating competition of the Olympics in 1998, the Ukrainian skaters were listed as Vyacheslav Zagorodniuk and Dmitri Dmitrenko, a transliteration from Russian and not from Ukrainian [which would be Viacheslav Zahorodniuk and Dmytro Dmytrenko]. Transliterations from Russian were also used during the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.
In independent Ukraine there is no directive from Moscow on how to correctly transliterate. Nowadays that decision is made in Kyiv by the Ukrainian Olympic Committee. Apparently these people consider the Ukrainian language unworthy of transliteration into English, and Russian to be superior to Ukrainian.
How long will it take for Ukrainians to accept the Ukrainian language as equal to other languages and worthy of transliteration into English? How long will their inferiority complex last? How can a nation that does not have self-respect demand respect from others?
Some Ukrainians might think that correctly transliterating Ukrainian names into English is of no importance, or that yet another criticism of Ukraine is unfair. But what difficulty impedes the proper transliteration from Ukrainian into English? Probably unwillingness, ignorance, lack of self-respect and an inferiority complex. Such qualities could also destroy a nation.
Andrij D. Solczanyk
published March 15, 1998
Editor's Note: From its founding in 1993, Azerbaijan International has had a policy of transliterating names into English via Azeri, not Russian. We try to be a reliable reference for our readers but it is a constant struggle because much of the material we receive is still spelled through Russian. It seems old habits die hard.
From Azerbaijan International (6.1) Spring 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.
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