Proper Names

Q. I wonder what your ruling is on using Latin-based (but non-Latin) characters as part of a person’s name. At my job, I am often required to write about Turkish Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan. English publications usually write it as “Erdogan,” but this has the side effect of people pronouncing it “Er-do-gan” and looking foolish. I would argue we should write it “ErdoÄŸan,” as this more closely reflects the name’s pronunciation (as well as its actual spelling), and the alphabet is still comprehensible to an English speaker. However, what is your take?

A. If your typesetters can set the correct letter, by all means use it. Although writers who quote you may type a plain g, not knowing how to reproduce the special character, there’s nothing you can do about that. Whenever it’s appropriate, help your readers out by providing the pronunciation in parentheses or in a note.