East Asian Writing Systems
unicode encoded

Vietnamese Writing Home >
|| envelope

 

Examples of Foreign Authors' Names Transliterated Into Vietnamese
(Photographed in a Saigon Bookshop)

 

Foreign names in Vietnam may be found in two forms: A Vietnamese-style spelling that conforms with Vietnamese pronunciation, or the spelling in the original language. (In the case of Russian, this means a European or English-style romanisation of the original Cyrillic letters). This is a small selection of photos, mainly taken in a Saigon bookshop, showing the variation that is found.

1. French authors

French authors are prone to be put in Vietnamese style, especially well-established literary figures.
Victor Hugo
Stendhal
But there are not a few cases where the 'Vietnamised' versions and the original versions can be found side-by-side on the bookshelves.
Alexandre Dumas
Emile Zola
Saint Exupéry
If the author is less well-known, he may be found in the original spelling. This volume by Henri Charrière, using the original French spelling for the author's name, was published by the same people who consistently put Zola, Hugo, and Stendhal in Vietnamese style.
And finally, a work written about a famous Frenchman by a modern author:
'Napoleon Bonaparte' (Vietnamese style spelling), written by E. Tarle (original spelling).

 

2. Russian authors

Classic Russian authors are frequently found in Vietnamese spellings. Below are two different Tolstoy's and Turgenev. Notice the variation in word division (hyphenated and single word). The first example (top-left) cunningly reverses the 'N' to give a Russian feel to the script.
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy: 'War and Peace'
Leo Tolstoy
A. Tolstoy
Alexei Tolstoy
I. Turgenev
But sometimes a modern author will be found in English spelling:
B. Pasternak

 

3. Modern Anglo-American authors

Modern authors writing in English almost overwhelmingly use the original spelling (even in the case of not-so-modern authors like Galsworthy, Maugham, and Christie).
John Grisham
Erich Segal
James Clavell
Sydney Sheldon
Somerset Maugham
John Galsworthy
Jack London
Agatha Christie
But even here there are exceptions:
Theodore Dreiser
Back to Top