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Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 February 1960



The Communist revolution in China has led to the appearance in this country of increasing numbers of Chinese books in Russian translation. The Chinese names in Cyrillic transcription have presented many librarians and students with a new problem, that of identifying the Cyrillic form of a name with the customary Wade‐Giles transcription. The average cataloguer, the first to meet the problem, has two obvious lines of action, and neither is satisfactory. He can save up the names until he has a chance to consult an expert in Chinese. Apart altogether from the delay, the expert, confronted with a few isolated names, might simply reply that he could do nothing without the Chinese characters, and it is only rarely that Soviet books supply them. Alternatively, he can transliterate the Cyrillic letters according to the system in use in his library and leave the matter there for fear of making bad worse. As long as the writers are not well known, he may feel only faintly uneasy; but the appearance of Chzhou Ėn‐lai (or Čžou En‐laj) upsets his equanimity. Obviously this must be entered under Chou; and we must have Mao Tse‐tung and not Mao Tsze‐dun, Ch'en Po‐ta and not Chėn' Bo‐da. But what happens when we have another . . . We can hardly write Ch'en unless we know how to represent the remaining elements in the name; yet we are loth to write Ch'en in one name and Chėn' in another.


ALLEN, C.G. (1960), "THE RUSSIAN TRANSCRIPTION OF CHINESE NAMES", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 80-91.




Copyright © 1960, MCB UP Limited

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