Translating personal names

Another example why “translating” people’s names should be avoided (unless there’s a very good reason for it, like themselves using two variants according to the context) has appeared in a recent BBC article. Talking about Jamie McGrigor, the title of the article translates the surname to an Griogarach and the body of the text as MacGriogair. Of course, both ways are usual in Gaelic, but using them for the same person in the same article looks like talking about a Seumas MacGilleAnndrais under the title Anderson’s request then stating “the question was raised by Seumas MacAndrew”.

 

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