Does one translate the name of a multilingual typeface?

It is a brief question that has been on my mind recently. If one designs a multilingual typeface, then would they do so? If so, in what way? A hypothetical example: a designer creates a typeface called Perennial covering English and Russian. If they did translate the name for Russian users would they fully translate it (Вечный—eternal) or would they transliterate it (Пэрэнниал).
I imagine transliteration would be the answer so one does not start having a bunch of names for the typeface, perhaps? It would still have the one Latin name in the actual font data after all.

Comments

  • Aaron BellAaron Bell Posts: 42
    In most cases, I've seen font names transliterated, rather than fully translated. As you indicate, it makes sense that a font is known by the same name across different languages. 

    And if you're not aware, you can include a language-specific variant of the name table so that if a user has their language set to Russian, they'll see the Russian version. 
  • I think if you have a desire, you can mention its name in another language in the description of the font. Users will decide for themselves what to call it - or transliterate / distort the original name, or, unlikely, will accept your version of the name for their language. At the same time, font designers themselves, talking about working on the font, can use the name in their own language. For example, A. Korolkova talked about working on the Circe font, but she called it in Russian - Цирцея.
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 422
    edited August 10
    If I were localizing the names for a font, the choice between transliteration and translation would depend on whether the name had an obvious cognate or not. For example, if I had a font called 'Random' I would likely render it in Cyrillic as ‘Рандом’ rather than translating this word into Russian. On the other hand, if I had a font called ‘Moscow’ I would almost certainly translate it to ‘Москва’ rather than transliterating it as ‘Моско’

    In cases where I was transliterating, I might also opt to slightly alter the name to make it better fit into the target language. For example, If I were to name a font (rather sadistically) ‘Sixths’ I might opt to transliterate that into Greek as ‘Σίξθος’ rather than as ‘Σίξθς’.
  • I would leave it in Latin anyways. If a user is enough learned to use a computer, he/she knows enough to understand it (and check the pronunciation, if wished).
  • People from some countries expect things to be localized and others hate it. People from CJK countries are more likely to expect all strings and UI (including font names) to be localized. 
  • Thanks for your insights everyone.
    Thanks for the link Aaron, a big part of the question was indeed just my thinking it would be nice for a user to see the name in whatever their script may be.
    Synthesizing Claudio’s, Olexa’s, and André’s points, if a typeface covers a lot of scripts I can see sense in a user rejecting a designer’s odd transliteration and deciding how to say the Latin from their own perspective, and there’s the off chance that your transliteration translates to something else in their language too.
    In my own instance I’ll take it case by case as Georg notes. There is one script that I definitely would want presented in their language: it just makes sense since the part of the name is the Latin spelling of one of their words, so while they could easily understand what it means in Latin it would be cool for them to be able to see it in their language. The design isn’t ready to be shared yet, so I have time to think about it some more. Thanks again all!
  • Maxim ZhukovMaxim Zhukov Posts: 74
    edited August 12
    In Russian the practice varies widely, and it changes with time. In the Soviet Union, many names of typefaces were adjectives, e.g., Literatùrnaya [Garnitùra]. Nouns were also used, e.g., Mysl. The gender of the typeface names varied too, e.g., Metrò (n), Orbìta (f), Agàt (m). The case of the typeface names was mostly subjective, e.g., Yelizavètinskaya [Garnitùra], although the genitive case was also used, e.g., [Garnitùra] Lazùrskogo.

    In current times most manufacturers and distributors of fonts do their best to call them shorter and pronounceable names. For example, the typeface formerly known as Bànnikovskaya [Garnitùra] is now referred to as Bànnikova; Zhurnàlnaya Rùblenaya [Garnitùra] as Journal Sans; Aktsidèntnaya Telingàtera as Telingàter Display.

    In considering the transliteration of a typeface name it is important to know what language was used in the original name. English may not necessarily be the source language. Take such names as Benguiat (Бèнгет), Zachrisson (Цàхриссон), Mardersteig (Мардерштàйг), Tschichold (Чѝхольд), Romain du Roy (Ромèн дю Руà), Künstlerschreibschrift (Кюнстлершрàйбшрифт). How would you spell and pronounce those names in Russian?

    Jacob Casal
    said:
    A hypothetical example: a designer creates a typeface called Perennial covering English and Russian. If they did translate the name for Russian users would they fully translate it (Вечный—eternal) or would they transliterate it (Пэрэнниал).
    I would rather use Перенниал.
  • From a purely business perspective, I think it's a bad idea to localize the name of any product.  Having one name means people always know what it is.  Also, if you ever need to defend your trademark you will need to be able to argue that you have invested in the identity and that's hard if the same product has more than one name.  Additionally for fonts, doesn't this present a work-group problem?
  • Take such names as Benguiat (Бèнгет), Zachrisson (Цàхриссон), Mardersteig (Мардерштàйг), Tschichold (Чѝхольд), Romain du Roy (Ромèн дю Руà), Künstlerschreibschrift (Кюнстлершрàйбшрифт). How would you spell and pronounce those names in Russian?
    When I first started (about 30 years ago, but i'm self-educated), then Benguiat was still a Бенгуиат. With German surnames it’s easier for me because I learned German at school :-) But for the majority, du Roy will remain Рой, and not Руа – with the French in our design world somehow did not work out.


  • Maxim ZhukovMaxim Zhukov Posts: 74
    edited August 12
    ⟨…⟩ How would you spell and pronounce those names in Russian?
    When I first started (about 30 years ago, but i'm self-educated), then Benguiat was still a Бенгуиат.
    Now that’s one tough tongue-twister! According to Wikipedia, Benguiat’s surname should pronounce ˈbɛnɡət. In her notes on the centennial of Herb Lubalin Annabel Brandon wrote “With a father who was a display director for Bloomingdale’s, young Ed Benguiat (pronounced BEN-gaht) grew up in ⟨…⟩.”

    However, thirty years ago Wikipedia did not yet exist. Nor did the Soviet print designers care too much to correctly spell/pronounce the names of the fonts they used—either designed in the West, or bundled with the OS and the DTP applications, swiped from the Web, or “shared” by friends and colleagues.
    With German surnames it’s easier for me because I learned German at school :-) But for the majority, du Roy will remain Рой, and not Руа – with the French in our design world somehow did not work out.
    Olexa, I must confess I accidentally misspelt Romain du Roi. In modern French it is spelt with i, and not with y.
  • I hadn’t thought of it like that Joyce; that’s a pretty good point too. I’m leaning toward just one name now with everyone’s points. However, and I’m not well versed in copyrights and trademarks, couldn’t one argue that it is the same name in different scripts, being transliterated?
    By the workgroup did you mean multiple people working with the same font with its various transliterations per member causing confusion?
  • Huh! And here I've always said [bɛ̃.ɡi.ˈa] in my mind...
    In any case, I do indulge in transliterating typeface names for the purpose of advertising, but it never occurred to me to change the name in font files. I agree that it likely dilutes the typeface's brand.


  • @Jacob Casal I'm not an attorney either but I think a trademark needs to be exact.  Legal things tend to take the specifics very seriously.  But also, we have a mantra at Darden Studio "At the point you're explaining fonts to a judge you've lost."

    What I mean by workgroup issues is that not so much about confusion (though, that too) but work flow.  If we're on a big team and we're using the same font in different languages (passing files back and forth) I'd think you'd want the menu names to match?
  • A sensible mantra! Yes, I’m convinced now, I will limit it to advertising as Christian notes. After all, a good advertisement should be able to convey the linguistic capabilities of a font.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,435
    Univers needs an e on the end, in the Anglosphere!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 437
    Usually a font name is a trademark, and trademarks generally are never translated into other languages, presumably because they need to be exact, as noted above. Less commercial projects, however, are more free to extend a courtesy to speakers of different languages.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 437
    Olexa Volochay said:
    When I first started (about 30 years ago, but i'm self-educated), then Benguiat was still a Бенгуиат. With German surnames it’s easier for me because I learned German at school :-) But for the majority, du Roy will remain Рой, and not Руа – with the French in our design world somehow did not work out.
    I don't think there is a way to correctly transcribe "Roi" into Russian phonetically.

    It isn't pronounced "Roy" like Roy Rogers, so Рой wouldn't be right. It isn't pronounced "Rua" - Roo-ah - either. It's pronounced Rwa.

    And, despite the efforts of Chekhov on Star Trek, there is no W in the Russian alphabet.

  • I don't think there is a way to correctly transcribe "Roi" into Russian phonetically. It isn't pronounced "Roy" like Roy Rogers, so Рой wouldn't be right. It isn't pronounced "Rua" - Roo-ah - either. It's pronounced Rwa.
    Quite right. By the way, there is a short У (Ў) in Belarusian alphabet. The established spelling of Romain du Roi in Russian and Ukrainian is Ромен-дю-Руа (mind the hyphens).
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