Internationalizing into your local customs

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 14:08

It seems strange to me. I don't think I know people as aware of internationalization issues as Bubulle, a.k.a. Christian PERRIER, and I have the feeling his last post regarding how he shall address himself is somewhat short-sighted. That might just mean I am in an even worse position.

First, I recognize Christian's concern, but not only when dealing with people from around the globe – It happens in my everyday life. When you show an ID stating Gunnar Eyal Wolf Iszaevich, the first reaction is a blank stare of disbelief, only to be followed by a question: So, what is your name?

So I understand Christian wants to make it easier for people to guess what his name is in the least obtrusive way possible. I have seen the convention he suggests (uppercasing the family name) AFAICT used by French and Japanese people. But for me, it is intuitively backwards. If I were to emphasize a part of my name, it would be the part by which I expect people to address me with – I would write GUNNAR Wolf. And yes, I usually leave out my second given name and my mother's family name, as it is customary here.

Well, anyway... Reading my name, few people would guess I live in Mexico. Even fewer will believe I was born here. And if somebody calls me by the wrong part of my name, I won't feel at all offended. I strongly prefer my name to be used, as I like to be addressed casually, but quite often I am introduced as Dr. Wolf, in what at most would be an ex-profeso honoris causas doctorate, or at least an ignoratis causas one.

rpetre's picture

I know you probably get this

I know you probably get this a lot, but "Dr. Wolf" makes me think of Pulp Fiction's "calling in The Wolf". Maybe you should sign as Gunnar "The Wolf" :P

PS: oh, and your captchas are impossible...

armanda & maria's picture

si pienso en un lobo...

...ese lobo es harry.

Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso's picture

And then there are fools like

And then there are fools like me who insist on using both family names in all occasions and refuse to hyphenate them. ;-)

You can't win the international name game.

gwolf's picture

Why should you?

Hyphenating a family name is not semantically the same as stating both. Yes, it is often used in cultures where only one family name is used, but it really means composition. Hyphenated family names are inherited as a unit, so your children would use Gutiérrez-Hermoso as their first family name (and their mother's composed family names as their second one). Your grandchildren would have the four family names stitched together as the first one. That scheme would just fall apart after a couple generations ;-)

Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso's picture

(By the way, your Live

(By the way, your Live Traffic Feed is deceived, I'm sshed into a remote location and using it as a SOCKS proxy)