Proper Names

Q. Hello from Poland! While I have never actually seen CMOS (there is no copy in the US Consulate Library in Poznan where I live), I have seen it mentioned as an authority everywhere. I am now working on a project that requires automated identification of persons and would be grateful to know if CMOS addresses the question of translating given names. When and where are they translated and when do they remain in the original language? Are there any rules in English for this? Of course, one knows the most obvious cases such as Karl Marx and Charles the Bald, but many other cases are not so obvious. For instance, Russian princes are usually named Yuri rather than George. I shall be most grateful for any tips/suggestions.

A. Hello from Chicago! In the books that we publish, we depend on our authors to understand their audience and to style names accordingly. If the book is for a general audience, then names will probably appear in a form familiar to English-speaking readers. If the subject of the book is more narrowly defined and will be read by specialist scholars, the author might prefer to use the original-language names. Sometimes an author writing for a general audience will wish to educate readers by using the original names, but will introduce them by popular name. Merriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionary is a good source for variations on names.