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RUSS 4471/5471 Women in 20th-21st Century Russian Culture (Osterman): Transliteration for Russian Names

Russian transliteration

Russian personal names are largely transliterated according to the ALA-LC Romanization Table in English language based bibliographic sources. However, some journals do not always conform to this practice. If this is the case, the journal may provide a note at the beginning of the article laying out their transliteration practices. Here is an example: 

"Throughout these essays on Chekhov I have employed, whenever possible, a modified version of the Library of Congress transliteration scheme that is similar to the system developed by Frank Whitfield for his edition of D.S. Mirsky's A History of Russian Literature, which was originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1949. The following features should be noted: (a) Common English spellings for well-known Russian names, artists, and places are retained: hence Gogol instead of Gogol', Sofya instead of Sof'ya, and Moscow instead of Moskva. (b) Unaccented "HU" and "bIU" at the end of words are both transliterated as "y." (c) The consonant cluster "KC" is transliterated "x." (d) "e" is normally transliterated "e," but when it appears in initial position or follows another vowel, it will be transliterated as "ye." (e) "e," pronounced (approximately) "yo" and accented, will appear as "e." (f) «.sI" will appear as "ya." (g) "10" will appear as "yu." (h) "3" will appear as "e" ..."

Therefore, we need to be aware of these different practices and account for them during our searching! But how do we do that? Below are some suggestions to maximize your search techniques in a multi-transliteration method environment. 

 

Citation for example above: "A Note on the Transliteration of Russian Names, Words, and Titles." Modern Drama, vol. 42 no. 4, 1999, pp. iv-iv. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/mdr.1999.0053 

 

Search techniques

Begin by placing the name in indirect order (surname, forename). Depending on what kind of source you're looking for, you can set keyword parameters to "author" or "subject". 

ALA-LC form: Baranskaia, Natalia

                       TSvetaeva, Marina

Akhmatova, Anna

It may be helpful to search in the Library of Congress Authority File first for these names then copy and paste then into a separate document to refer back to.

 

Experiment with wildcards (*) when searching for Russian names in databases. This will include variations of transliterations used for a name. Try using * at the end of the name and/or in place of the following letters: Е (e), Ё (ë, or yo), Ж (zh), Й (ĭ), Х (kh), Ц (ts), Ч (ch), Ш (sh), Щ (shch), Ъ ("), Ы (y), Ь ('), Ю (iu), Я (ia), for example:

Baranskaya: Baranska* (will include Baranskaia, Baranskaya, Baranskaja, etc.)
Tsvetaeva: Tsveta*va
Akhmatova: A*matova

You may receive different search results when working with different databases or individual journals so don't get discouraged! 

Another option is using the Boolean operator "OR" in a combined keyword search. This will yield search results with either term or both terms in the retrieved entries.

Examples:

Adonyeva, Svetlana OR Adoneva, Svetlana

Posadskaya, Anastasia OR Posadskaia, Anastasiia