Saturday, May 1, 2010

How to write Vietnamese names in English for Western media newspaper stories.....first reference and then second reference? Is Ho Chi Minh called Ho on second ref or Minh? is Nguyen Tu Thuy called Nguyen on second ref or Thuy?

IN THE EXAMPLE ABOVE, notice how LE QUANG LIEM (his surname is LE, pronounced LAY, is called LIEM on second ref, not LE. WHY? IS THIS PART OF VIETNAMESE CULTURE? CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN?

I am getting lots of responses on this worldwide:

The NYTimes Manual of Style & Usage has a plethora of entries on foreign names for individual countries, as well as the main entry. The entry on Vietnamese names notes that they "usually consist of of the family name followed by two given names. But Western practice, accepted by the Vietnamese, treats the last part of the name in later references as if it were a surname."




''I am surprised by that. Score one for cultural imperialism." says one editor i know...in USA

OK, found it in Bloomberg stylebook. AP is right, but "Ho" as second reference is ALSO correct; hence confusion. Here's the entire entry:



Vietnamese usually have three names. The first is a family name, and the second and third are given names.
Use third name on second reference. (Example: Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach is "Thach" on second reference.)

Exception: Many Vietnamese have adopted pseudonyms, especially revolutionary noms de guerre such as Ho Chi Minh, Truong Chinh, Le Duc Tho and Pham Van Dong. Ho Chi Minh is "Ho" on second reference. Pseudonyms such as Truong Chinh, which means "Long March," can't be split. Use "Truong Chinh" on second reference. Le Duc Tho, likewise, is correctly referred to as "Le Duc Tho" on second reference. Before submitting a story with Vietnamese names, check the origin of each name."

ONE: "Second reference is always surname. In Vietnamese tradition, surname is first and first name is placed last. (For example, for the person named Nguyen Tan Lac, Nguyen is the surname, Lac is the first name. On second reference, it would be Nguyen). That is style at L. A. Times

However, in the US and other Western countries, Vietnamese tend to follow the Western protocol (first name first, last...
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name last). So Nguyen Lac Tan in fact writes his name as Lac Tan Nguyen in the US. But for newspaper stories we call him Nguyen for second and third refs.

You should always verify if you can someone's first and last name. Nguyen is usually a last name, but some people have it as their first name.

TWO SAYS: Gary Kirchherr asks me: What exactly is AP copydesk telling you?

I TOLD GARY: Hi Gary.......well, the AP is telling me that a name like Nguyen Thui Thi Tu would be written this way in first ref....but for second ref, she would be called "Tu" all the way through.......that's like calling Sally Quinn as "Sally" for second ref.....no? But Ap says so.
......but LAT reporter tells me it would be "Nguyen" on second ref because her surname is Nguyen, and in English we always give first name last name for first ref and then surname for seond ref......even for Japanese names and China names, we follow Western style for second ref......Hu Jintao is Hu on second ref, not Jintao or Tao....and Ma Ying-Jeou is MA in second ref....so why do we treat Vietnamese people differently? i smell a good story here and intend to blog on it today, to start things off. i might be wrong, i often am. ....sonething tells me something fishy here.....are the commies in Vietnam making AP do this? .....what does AP copy desk ion NYC say....?

THREE: "danny, Your Los Angeles Times reporter is wrong! I live in Vietnam and read the
Vietnamese media every day. I work with Vietnamese reporters every day. You
can stop doing research now..."

FOUR: I never
heard this before....for exmapl,e HO CHI MINH, we call him Ho is second ref, not Minh....but AP says they call him Minh on sec ref....weird.....that is like calling Ben Bradlee as BEN in second ref. i feel this disrespectful to Vietnamese peole in Westenr press, no?


My-Thuan Tran, reporter
@latimes.com
tells me


''Second reference is always surname. In Vietnamese tradition, surname
is first and first name is placed last. (For example, Nguyen Tan Lac.
Nguyen is the surname, Lac is the first name. On second reference, it
would be Mr. Nguyen).

However, in the US and other Western countries, Vietnamese tend to
follow the Western protocol (first name first, last name last). So Mr
Nguyen writes his name as Lac Tan Nguyen in the US.

You should always verify if you can someone's first and last name.
Nguyen is usually a last name, but some people have it as their first
name.''


FIVE: ''i asked NYtimes copy desk Merrill PErlman but no answer yet..... i noticed however that Seth Mydans NYTimes stories from Vietnam follow this weird rule of calling the person THuy or Tu or Thi for second ref rather than family surname of Nguyen or Tran.....weird? I know of no other country that we treat that way......China and Japanese now follow English style for second ref''

SIXK "Reuters also follows weird AP rule.....HO CHI MINH is MINH in second ref....who knew? let's ask testycopyeditors.org,.?''

SEVENth COMMENT: "OK, when I get home, let me check the Bloomberg and NYT stylebooks and see what *they* say. I really hope AP isn't giving out bad information. I do know I have challenged their stylebook people on calling Aung San Suu Kyi "Suu Kyi" on second reference; Burmese names don't work that way (no surnames). AP's response was, in not so many words, "Other people do it that way too." Good answer!''

8. "i think there is confusion out there in copydesk land so your blog will be a kind of outreach radar to ask readers to cmment with examples and come up with the truth, wherever she does LIE...."

9. "If Reuters really is calling Ho Chi Minh "Minh" on second reference, that's just inexcusable ignorance. I can't believe that deliberately butchering Asian names is part of Reuters' style."

10. .....for Vietnamese names in English language wire stories and stateside stories about Vietnamese people, how to write name in second ref? Nguyen Thi Thi Tu is his her name first ref, his her surname being NGUYEN of course, like BLOOM or McIntyre.....but on second ref, AP calls this person TU, not NGUYEN. Is that disrespectful, like calling you John in second ref, or this just AP and Reuters style? And what about you?

http://www.chessbase.com/news/2010/events/lequang05.gif

7 comments:

dan said...

Mark J McGarry in Paris at IHT tells me :

"Is it possible AP and/or Reuters just slipped up in a story you saw, or is it a consistent pattern? Nguyen is a surname, clearly that should be the name on second reference -- that would be both AP and Reuters style. The only exceptions might be if the subject is a child; the story refers to several members of the Nguyen family and the only practical way to differentiate among them is by using first names; or the story is a feature and the writer is going for some kind of effect by using first names. At the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times, we would refer to "Mr. Nguyen."

Anonymous said...

"OK, found it in Bloomberg stylebook. AP guy is right, but "Ho" as second reference is ALSO correct; hence confusion. Here's the entire entry:

Vietnamese usually have three names. The first is a family name, and the second and third are given names.

Use third name on second reference. (Example: Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach is "Thach" on second reference.)

Exception: Many Vietnamese have adopted pseudonyms, especially revolutionary noms de guerre such as Ho Chi Minh, Truong Chinh, Le Duc Tho and Pham Van Dong. Ho Chi Minh is "Ho" on second reference. Pseudonyms such as Truong Chinh, which means "Long March," can't be split. Use "Truong Chinh" on second reference. Le Duc Tho, likewise, is correctly referred to as "Le Duc Tho" on second reference. Before submitting a story with Vietnamese names, check the origin of each name."

Anonymous said...

mark McGarry tells this blog-

AP Stylebook entry on Chinese names that notes "Chinese generally place surnames first and then given names: Deng Xiaoping. Second reference should be the family name, Deng in this case." I think it would be reasonable to apply that to Vietnamese names.

However...!

The NYTimes Manual of Style & Usage has a plethora of entries on foreign names for individual countries, as well as the main entry. The entry on Vietnamese names notes that they "usually consist of of the family name followed by two given names. But Western practice, accepted by the Vietnamese, treats the last part of the name in later references as if it were a surname."

I am surprised by that. Score one for cultural imperialism."

Nadeem1414 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In America, first name or given name comes first. It comes from the culture of individualism.

Outside America, family name always come first. It probably stems back when you introduce yourself by your tribe name then your personal given name.

dan said...

dear anon march 25

thanks for your good note re

''In America, first name or given name comes first. It comes from the culture of individualism.

Outside America, family name always come first. It probably stems back when you introduce yourself by your tribe name then your personal given name.''

But you know, i am a newspaper reporter and editor, and in English newspapers published inside USA and UK and also overseas in Asia, naming styles are still confusing.

For exampkle, it's true that in Japan Watanabe Hironobu, for example is the name of a man who family name is Watanabe, he is from the Watanabe family and his first name in US style like I am Daniel, his first name is Hironobu...and in Japanese newspapers the naming style follows this pattern yet. i lived there for 5 years. BUt in the English newspapers in Japan and even in the USA where a news story from Japan is publsihed in Englsih, he is called "Hironobu Watanabe" in English,,,,not Watanabe Hironobu. See the Japan Times or the Daily Yomiuri online and also the NYTimes or the Taipei Times or the Bangkok Post.

But this is beacuse Japanese people agree to print their names in ENGLISH using Western style of BOB SMITH - DAN BLOOM - etc and even Japanese name cards use this Western style for English names of their names....

However, you are right: in China and Taiwan, they follow the rigid Chinese way of CHEN SHUI-BIAN for example, CHEN being the family name and SHUI-BIAN being his first name. and in both the Chinese language newspapers and the ENglish langugae newspapers and even in the USA and UK, we follow the style THEY WISH, the Chinese and the Tawianese, so we always respect their naming styles. The Japanese are the only Asians to shift to an English style for English name cards and newspapers.

for Vietnam and Thailand, more confusion. Can you teach me more?

dan said...

re

Outside America, family name always come first. It probably stems back when you introduce yourself by your tribe name then your personal given name.

but in Thaialnd, family name does not come first.... for example

Sutikarn Kohn-Kai is a girl whose family name is Kohn-Kai. all her friends call her Sutikarn. and in the Thai newspapers in Thai langue they call her in this order....and in the bangkok post English newspaepr her name is written as Sutikarn Kohn-Kai for first apperance in the news story adn the second time her name is just Sutikarn....That would be like called President Obama as Barack in the second and third mentioons of his name in a newspaper story. This also applies to Vietnam. I feel it is wrong for THAILAND and CHINA and TAWIAN and VIETNAM to insist on following Eastern styles of naming in Western newspapers....after all, those newspapers in their country, do you know what they call George Bush in China? or Taiwan. they do not even give his first name of George at all. they just call hims BUSHIE....that is wrong!

so both East and West are wrong and we need to correct these things. for example a news story about Baltimore and Edgar Allen Poe in a Chinese newspaper will call him POE, everytime, never his full name they just leave EDGAR ALLEN out, as if that name is not his real name. that is wrong.

and the West is wrong to call Thai and Vietnam people by their first names in English newspapers...In their own newspapers sure!