Акылбек Кайратбекович МЕЙРБЕКОВ
Асылбек Кайратбекұлы МЕЙІРБЕКОВ
Қожа Ахмет Ясауи атындағы Халықаралық қазақ-түрік университетінің доценті
Introduction: This paper considers linguistic process of transliteration, which was defined by Catford (1965) as the linguistic process when source language graphical units are replaced by target language graphical units, and approaches of converting Kazakh personal names into English. It is well-known that person names, locations and organizations as well as words borrowed into the language are the most frequent candidates for transliteration.
But the process of transliteration as Susich and Razran (1960) mentioned must be unambiguous, accurately reconvertible, workable, and as simple as possible. Therefore, and as a result of previous scientific works we came to the point that it is a big challenge to give the correct and the most appropriate transliterations of the names when it’s concerns to languages with different orthographies. Morton and Zitouni regarded spelling variants of foreign names after transliteration as the root of such kind of a challenge.
The goal of this work is to find out and develop essential principles and methods for implementing unification, codification, and standardization of Kazakh personal names. And one of the essential principles is the preservation of the sound-graphic compliance of each language’s alphabet, its perception of sounds, and specific national articulatory features.
The aim of the research project is based on the developing the principles of converting Kazakh personal names into English, relying on the accepted international ISO/R 9:1968 standard and by taking into account the features of perception of settled English sound–graphic combinations, to accurately systematize transliterated anthroponyms into a uniform base. Afterward, the base will be the fundamentals of the website, which was expected as a final product of the project. The website will assist to accomplish above mentioned transliteration by using technical tools to make public, on a global network a created base of transliterated names.
Problems in Transliteration their historical background and various solutions: When the process of globalization has already began, it became more clear that the people all over the world, every nation would be involved into the close prelationship with each other. And it led to the intercultural and interlanguage communications. Nowadays there are a lot of linguistic research works which are devoted mainly to interlanguage and intercultural communications. And some of them were focused exactly on the transliteration of proper names (Lee, Chang & Jang, 2004; Karimi, Scholer & Turpin, 2007; Virga & Khudanpur, 2003; Wan & Verspoor, 1998; Aziz, 1983).
Globalization has arised up necessity of correct transliteration of Kazakh names into English. At first personal names are a core marker of the individual, as they identify unique individuals (Finsh, 2008). On the other hand if you utter incorrect pronunciation of your communicatee’s name you can some how disappoint him or her. Or at least your such action can cause unpleasant situation to him or her. Because as Mattyhews (2007) claimed transliteration is a lossy process, due to the lack of direct correspondence between languages’ phonetic systems.
Personal and proper names, in the overwhelming majority of cases, tend to possess and indicate nationality and language. During conversations in foreign languages, one must use other nominal words for familiar subjects and concepts. However, differing from nominal words in their usage, personal and proper names become reference points for interlanguage communication. Thus, personal names are extremely important for communication and mutual understanding among people. They serve the purpose of situating people in social space, connecting them to family, lineage, ethnic group, and such (Palsson, 2014). This alone provides significant justification for the study of onomastics and transliteration resources for foreign-language personal names.
No doubts that personal names have huge importance in our life. Besides other types of cultural considerations, all written forms of an anthroponym function as legal identification (Yermolovich, 2001). At first act of transliterating of personal names can be perceived as a simple assignment. In reality, its entanglements and challenges turn out to be clear, particularly for the specialists in Kazakh Civil Registration and passport offices who are filling out birth certificates, identity cards, and passports, furthermore for the representatives of the different social establishments finishing records for citizens. Namely, following our basic research aim, when going abroad, the citizens of Kazakhstan clash with the complexities in accurate name transfer, i.e., in retaining the sound–graphic features in a certain foreign language or languages.
Civil Registration and the Population Service Center are the two main governmental organizations, which a responsible for the accurate transliteration of proper names in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a worker in science or culture or an expert in any branch of human activity who would not need to use proper names transliterated into English, especially in the offices of the department of the Population Service Center. Representatives of almost all professions, which work with documents every day experience the necessity to convert Kazakh names into English. Besides, even the simple citizens face similar complexities when filling out various documents (e.g., visa registrations, summaries, and autobiographies).
As a particular case, during the act of recording international passports, the governmental organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan start with the original graphics of names and surnames of Kazakh citizens written in the Kazakh and Russian languages, i.e., the Cyrillic letter set. Hence, names and surnames are at first assigned as Kazakh or Russian, regardless of their origin. In this way, when personal names are registered in the passport, they are converted, i.e., each Russian or Kazakh letter is supplanted with the conformable letter or combinations of letters in the English alphabet. Unfortunately, the written reproduction of proper names becomes distorted, e.g., Maksim becomes Maxim, Aleksandr becomes Alexandr, Tanat becomes Tangat, and Kanat becomes Qhanat, and so on.
Need for a Modern and Practical Solution: Thus, personal names demand special attetion for their transliteration into another languages. The act of tramscribing personal names may lead into the loss of some linguistic qualities. Beside losing some of these qualities, the transcribing of a name into other language can complicate the identification of the name’s carrier. In spite of the fact that onomastics has not been totally denied of language specialists’ consideration, they have scarcely explored the topic of regularities in lexical signs for the interlingual transcribing of anthroponyms.
Moreover, some people need correct, consistent resources to assist them to transcribe personal names in foreign languages, such as translators of various texts. Consequently, specialized knowledge in onomastics is becoming increasingly necessary. Also, modern language policy of the government has given the importance for the current issue of transliteration.
The language policy of the country developed in the form of language planning. In 2007, the President Nazarbayev has introduced new language policy named “Trinity of Languages,” Kazakh, Russian, and English. This project has given rise to a number of tasks needing to be done, one of them performs the correct transliteration of Kazakh names into English. Today, in the highly charged and relatively recently changed conditions in the Kazakh public, political, social, and economic situations, there is a need for the preservation of ethnos, language, and spirit of the people, ethnic consolidation, and the unity of all people. The need for directories for the forms of normalization and codification are obvious, and the distribution of a public resource in the form of a website and an electronic platform for glossal dictionaries becomes a necessity.
Besides, in order to transliterate Kazakh names into English, a person should know the rules and principles of correspondence. Nevertheless, correctness in transliteration is relative, changing with the due to the new norms and instructions. Therefore, it becomes also necessary to imagine how to arrive at an expert transliteration if the applicable rules do not appear adequate to cover certain cases. In any case, we should realize fully that in any way converting will have some little incorrectness. hence, the conscious assimilation of transliteration bases, understanding of the nature of names, and mastering them despite the rather minute variations in the Kazakh names, and transferring by English graphic means comprise the actual task at the present time.
The new national-focused ideology advocates addressing a national means for the transliteration of proper names. According to Smailova (2009), we have to accept up to date norms of the converting of personal names at the present stage of our country’s history. To achieve the most exact converting of proper names into foreign languages, we must proceed from the source language to target language, without a supporting intermediary language.
Recommended Methods for Modern and Consistent Transliteration: In order to transliterate personal names into foreign language, we should be guided by principles of preservation of national features and the corresponding sound–graphic features of perception and pronunciation of each language. Furthermore, personal names’ adoption by transliteration can be guided by a written (graphic) form. A simple converting of the graphic form of a name without textual changes from one language into another language is possible. Such practice is more convenient, of course, when languages use the same general graphic basis, for instance, countries using Latin graphics.
In English, the fact is that many letters of the Latin alphabet have changed sound value or are read unconventionally in certain combinations of letters and words. Consequently, in order to transliterate personal names, we should take into account the phonetic peculiarities of the Kazakh and English languages, which in particular cases, are better and closer if transferred directly rather than through the Russian phonetic system. As an intermediate language, Russian generates options for names that are read somewhat similarly to the originals in the Kazakh language. The process of transliterating personal names needs reckoning with the accepted international standards; however, at the same time, the individual Kazakh language has certain peculiarities in sound–graphic combinations that should be accurately and directly transferred into English, taking into account the perceptions of sound symbols.
The sound system of any language is primary and the written secondary. Logically, a name transfer should be guided by achievement of phonetic proximity to the original. The first task in the transfer of proper names is deciding on a transcription method that replicates, as precisely as possible, the accepting language’s sounding of the name. However, the transcription aim consists of not only transferring the sound of the name as accurately as possible into the accepting language’s alphabet, but also observing a principle of biunique compliance between the phonemes of the original and their foreign graphic counterparts – a compliance in the accepting language that is not always achievable. Phonologic systems of various languages are, as a rule, so specific that it is impossible to put their sounds in biunique compliance.
Direct transliteration, which does not consider the sound–graphic and phonetic features of concrete language, has both advantages and shortcomings. The advantages are obvious such as the written form of a name is not distorted and the individual has a universal identification independent of language. However, the receiving language is likely to impose a pronunciation according to its own rules.
This method deserves special attention for the transfer of names into other languages because there are essential differences in the phonetic systems of various languages. This observation supports the fact that Kazakh names in Russian and English look different because sounds transferred by special graphic means in one language do not comply with the other in a way that is quite clear. The need for special attention also arose because English seems to offer phonetic and spelling options for the transfer of Kazakh names. For example, the name Бақыт in different documents including passports may be transferred as Bakit, Bakhit, Bahit, or Bahyt; names with the general component of жақсы (Жақсылық, Жақсыкелді) may become Zhaksilik, Zhaxylyk, Zhaksygeldi, Zhaxigeldy, or Zhaksykeldi; Arystan as Arystan or Aristan; and Гүлмира becomes Gulmyra or Gulmira.
Modern translational practice has developed a principle of practical transcription aimed at the transfer of proper names’ sounds, but at the same time includes some elements of transliteration. Because of transliteration elements, restoring a proper name’s initial form to the original language happens more easily, and this is sometimes extremely important for transferring anthroponyms into English.
The definition of national and language accessory of proper names allows choosing the correct system of reference points by transfer or a choice of traditional option, creating a practical solution for transliteration by considering all the components of form and content of proper names, transferring adequately the most important components of Kazakh proper names, and also providing particular attention to the following: а) sound and graphic similarity (transcription and transliteration method); b) convenience of pronunciation and harmony of compliance; c) preservation of the identity of a name.
In order to avoid such kind of misunderstandings of figurative sound–graphic converting of the names, a transliteration system based on transliteration principles provided by Gilyarevski and Starostin (1985) is offered:
а) Unambiguity: The letters of one language (in this case, the Kazakh language) always to transfer to the same Latin letters or combination of letters;
Convertibility: Any Latin equivalent of a transliteration is unequivocally restored into the Kazakh
Traditional character: The system relies on consistent traditional transfer, developed in our country, of Kazakh letters into Latin letters;
Universality: The same system is used in all facets of a transliteration.
Conclusion: The adequate transfer of Kazakh names into the Russian and English languages connects with an urgent need for resources that fix surnames and patronymics and transfer them correctly into English. In addition, the resources must render effective help transfer of names from one language to another in that the name is accurately recorded, whatever its sounds, because accurate personal identification sometimes depends on it. These resources partly consist of the proposed electronic dictionary reference, of national appointment, with the following fundamental principles:
Evening-out existing options in writing Kazakh personal names in various sources by identifying and coordinating their transfer through English graphic means;
Normalization and standardization of Kazakh personal names in English writing.
Thus, a search for methods and development of principles necessary for unification, codification, and standardization of Kazakh names is part of this paper’s purpose. In this regard, transliteration program for Kazakh names serves as a foundation for solving the problems elucidated above. An electronic resource for accurately transferring Kazakh names into English includes basic, accurate, and consistent provisions and recommendations about the sound–graphic compliance of alphabets and the national articulatory features of each language.