Yizkor Book Guidelines for Translation/Transliteration

Compiled by Joyce Field and Jerrold Landau

Introduction

For many years JewishGen has had guidelines on its website for transliteration/translation of Yiddish and Hebrew text into English for its Yizkor Book Project. However, it seems that over time the usage of these guidelines may have declined. Therefore, it was decided to update and expand these guidelines.

Context is important to understanding the issues involved in transliteration. Therefore, the following Introductions to two sets of guidelines will provide some context.

In 2004, Sonia Kovitz, Ph.D, wrote a set of guidelines for Yiddish translators. See https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/donation/guidelines.html. In an expanded version (see in Reference section below), under the heading of Accuracy, she wrote the following on the role of translators.

“Your role is that of an interpreter between two distinct cultural as well as linguistic worlds. The reader of your translation will not be a teacher grading you by comparing the Yiddish and the English, side by side, but a researcher unable to read Yiddish who is relying on you to provide access to the material. The differences between the two worlds—which you do your best to bridge—turn translation into a balancing act. Your goal is to follow the vocabulary and phrasing of the author's choices as carefully as you can, in order to capture not just the basic meaning but the tone and the tam [flavor] of the piece.”

In 2009 Dr. Ronald Doctor wrote a long file, “Hebrew/Yiddish transliteration guidelines for use in Kremenets vital records, yizkor book and matzeva translations,” which was written for use in his massive work on Kremenets but also had wider application to other projects. This document has much that is relevant to yizkor book translators. Like all guidelines, this one stresses the importance of consistency. This link to this file is in the Reference section, too,
https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Kremenets/web-pages/documents/transliteration/Transliteration%20Guidelines,%20Hebrew%20&%20Yiddish.pdf.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for decades has been involved with standardization of Yiddish and the website has many useful files. The file on the Yiddish alphabet may be particularly useful to translators. [See it in the References section.]

Dr. Dovid Katz, a foremost Yiddishist, has a brilliant article in the Yivo Encylcopedia.on the history of Yiddish. His discussion of Yiddish dialects can be particularly useful for translators

 

Yiddish Dialects

“All native Yiddish spoken today derives from one (or a combining of several) of the East European dialects of the language. East European Yiddish—modern Yiddish—can first be divided into a “North” and a “South.” Northeastern Yiddish, the dialect of the North, is popularly called Lithuanian Yiddish (simply Litvish in Yiddish), and its speakers are known as Litvaks (lítvakes). Its territory encompasses what is today Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, and portions of northeastern Poland, northern and eastern Ukraine, and western Russia. The South (comprising perhaps three-quarters of all Yiddish speakers) is itself divided into two major subdialects: Southeastern (so-called “Ukrainian”) and Mideastern (so-called “Polish”) Yiddish. Southeastern Yiddish includes Volhynian, Podolian, and Bessarabian-Romanian varieties; they are readily distinguishable from each other. A version of its sound system became the basis for standard Theater Yiddish (while the literary and academic standard closely tracks the Lithuanian dialect of the north, minus a few famous exceptions). The most populous dialect is Mideastern (“Polish”) Yiddish, which covers what was Congress Poland, western Galicia, and much of the Hungarian lands.

From lexicographer Alexander Harkavy in New York to Max Weinreich in Vilna, 1 September 1933, explaining that he was delayed in answering a letter from Weinreich because of an injury he sustained while boarding a tram. He takes issue with several aspects of YIVO orthography, including the way it renders the Latin suffix “-ium” (e.g., aquarium) and the use of two yods joined at the bottom (like the letter v) to represent double-vov. “V instead of a double vov is a litera hibrida—-a bastard letter!” Yiddish. RG 584, Max Weinreich Papers, F282. (YIVO)

The most systematic differences between the dialects are in their systems of stressed vowels. The North, more conservative in vowel qualities (and therefore retaining sounds perceptually closer to their Semitic or Germanic origins) has, for example, zogn (say), zukhn (look for), zeyf(soap), and zayd (silk). The south (Polish type) uses zugn, zîkhn, zayf, and zâd. The same relationships (the linguist's “consistent correspondences”) hold for words of Hebraic origin: for example, the Lithuanian kóved(honor), búshe (disgrace), séyfer (traditional sacred book), dáyge (worry) versus the Polish kúved, bîshe, sáyfer, and dâge. In most (by no means all) instances, the northern dialect (Litvish or Lithuanian) rings standard to modern academic or cultural Yiddishists, while southern varieties ring “dialectal” bearing in mind from the outset that dialectal does not by any means imply substandard.

The southern dialects retain differences in vowel length (quantity), a feature lost among the Litvaks. For a Litvak, zun can mean sun or son and betn can be 'beds' or the verb 'to ask'. But southerners distinguish zin for sun from zîn for son, and betn for beds from beytn for ask. And there is one very nonstandard Lithuanian Yiddish vowel realization: ey (as in they), where standard has oy: hence northeastern (Litvak) téyre (Torah) and léyfn (run), for southern and standard tóyre and lóyfn. Moreover, much traditional Lithuanian Yiddish collapses the hushing and hissing consonants (“confusion of shand s sounds”), a feature most Litvaks have tried to overcome in recent generations. Because the historic Yiddish writing system marks vowel quality rather than quantity, the relative conservatism of Lithuanian Yiddish in preserving older vowel qualities has made for the one-to-one match between letter and sound for standard Yiddish pronunciation. “

 

Style Guidelines for JewishGen Yizkor Book Translations

A note on the vagueness of some of these guidelines

Admittedly many of these guidelines, especially when it comes to style and spelling of names, locations, and terms, are purposely vague. Remember that Yizkor Books are not academically rigid documents, but rather human narratives telling the story of a destroyed city or town as remembered by its former residents. Often, the stories in a Yizkor Book may contradict each other. This is fine as clearly the authors were not trying to write precise historical documents. Rather, they were trying to capture the feelings and essence of the Jewish community of the town. Therefore, variants in the style of translation fit very well in with this genre of literature. Yizkor Book translation is not the place for rigidi structure and style. The goal is to convey the essence of the content to the English reader in an effective manner. There is no one way to do this.

 

The four main principles
  1. Flexibility : There is no one single style to be imposed on translations. This applies primarily to the Yiddish vs Hebraic English transliteration, but also applies to other areas. These books were written in different styles, and the translators themselves have different styles. There is room for flexibility. In fact, a book may have more than one translator (commonly a different one for Hebrew and Yiddish), each with his/her own style. In such cases, the style difference should be noted in the introduction provided by the Project Coordinator (PC).
  2. Consistency : On the other hand, translators must be consistent within the book they are translating (unless the translator consciously chooses to adopt a different style for the Hebrew and Yiddish sections). There have been cases where a single translator transliterated a surname differently on different pages of a book, creating significant confusion. This situation is not acceptable. However, a translator need not be consistent from book to book.
  3. Respect for the PC: The PC is acting on behalf of those who are paying for the translation. Thus, the commissioners of the PC may have style requests. These should be respected to the extent possible, and the translator should adjust accordingly. Of course, the translator and the PC are welcome to negotiate the style.
  4. Readability : Whatever style one adopts, the resulting translation should flow well and be readable. Proper English grammar and sentence structure should be used. The translator may want to preserve the style of the original (e.g. many originals have long run-on sentences, and sometimes these can be preserved). The translator and PC should use their best judgment.

 

Translator's Additions, Clarifications

The Yizkor Book Project affirms the integrity of the original text. Therefore, translator's changes, insertions, clarifications must be clearly identified. Whatever additions are made should be identified as being included by the translator or coordinator.

An addendum on the translation site is preferred for a large amount of material related to the translation.

However, if the addition includes numerous photos not part of the translation, then including these photos on a Keilalinks site should be considered. Also, other materials such as coordinator's contacts, biographical details, reports on visits to the shtetl, or Yad Vashem testimonies are more appropriate to the Kehilalinks site, with necessary links.

If the coordinator prefers to include these materials on the translation site, they must be clearly demarcated through an introductory note and by setting them apart by means of a different font or identifying style, with the beginning and ending of the additions noted.

To reiterate, it must be clear to the reader that this is an addition rather than part of the original text.

 

Style variants: Yiddish style vs. Hebraic style

This applies to first names, as well as Judaic concepts.

First names: Khane vs. Chana, Mordkhe vs Mordechai, etc

Judaic concepts: Rosheshone vs Rosh Hashanah, Shvies vs. Shavuos Chanukah vs Khanike etc.

Some translators prefer the Hebrew style, based on their background, but also on common English readability. Such Hebrew terms and names are often recognizable in English. Most people know what Rosh Hashanah (or Rosh HaShana) is, but would need to think a bit before figuring out what Rosheshone is. In fact, most spellcheckers would recognize Rosh Hashanah, but not Rosheshone. Other translators prefer the Yiddish style, and that is acceptable. For those using the Yiddish style, the guidelines of YIVO are recommended: https://www.yivo.org/Yiddish-Alphabet. [See the Reference section for this Alphabet.]

 

Style variants in the Hebraic form: Ashkenazic vs Sephardic pronunciation

Moshe vs. Moishe, Shavuot vs Shavuos, Sukkot vs Sukkos or Sukkis, etc.

Some translators tend to stick to the more commonly used Sephardic style, which are often more recognizable to the intended readership. Others prefer the Ashkenazic style, which is more authentic in the original context. Some may mix the styles, based on the type of words. There can be flexibility here. Consistency within the work of the translator of a given book as well as the wishes of the PC are key.

 

Style variants in names: Polish vs. Anglicized

This would apply to names of those in Polish areas. For first names, examples would be Yeshaya vs Jeszaja. Moshe vs. Mosze, Shrprintza vs. Szprinca, Yitzchak vs. Icchok, etc. Many translators prefer the Anglicized form for first names. The Anglicized form tends to be more readable and recognizable in most cases. Furthermore, the definition of Poland is very fluid. An area may have been part of Austria at one point, part of independent Poland at another point, and part of the Soviet Union at yet another point. Other translators prefer to use the Polish style invariably. For those who use the Anglicized style, an exception would be for obviously Polish first names, such as Wojciech or Stanisław .

For surnames, many translators use the Polish form for chapters dealing with people living in Poland (Grynberg, Wajnsztajn, Kac etc.) However, this tends to have complications, for the same border change situations noted above. Furthermore, a person may have been Kac while in Poland, and Katz after moving to America. In such cases, it would be appropriate to use the Polish form in chapters where the person is living in Poland, and the Anglicized form in chapters where the person is no longer living in Poland. However, So as to prevent confusion, the translator should note early in the translation that the surname will change.

 

Overriding factor in names: the desires of the Project Coordinator

In some cases, the PC may have a request for a specific spelling of a name. The request may not fit in with the usual conventions that the translator is using. Often, this request will have emanated from one of the financial contributors to the translation project. Unless completely outlandish (and it rarely would be), the requests and sensitivities of the donors and the PC should be respected.

 

Town Names:

The first rule is that one should use the JewishGen Gazeteer feature (https://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/LocTown.asp ) to identify variants. For areas under Polish domination, use the Polish form. However, complications arise due to the frequent border changes (eg., Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, Lviv are all the same place for the location that was under Austrian, Polish, Soviet, and Ukrainian rule, respectively). One should use common sense. Footnoting and/or including alternates in [square parentheses] may be helpful in cases of confusion. If a village cannot be identified, the translator should make the best guess at the spelling.

When using the Polish form, a translator should preserve the special characters.

There are two main exception to the style recommendation for cities and towns:

  1. Very well-known places, such as Warsaw and Bucharest. It is suggested that the translator use the common English form, rather than Warszawa or Bucuresti.
  2. Locations very well known in Jewish history, and associated with famous people (many famous rabbis have nicknames after their place of origin) or famous Yeshivas. Most people know about the Vilna Gaon and Satmar Rebbe, so it would be awkward to hear about the Vilnius Gaon or Satu Mare Rebbe. Similarly, the Yeshiva towns of Ponovitch, Telz, Baranovich, Mir, etc. should retain their commonly used spelling.

 

Footnoting

These books tend to be full of innuendoes from Jewish lore and culture. Some translators tend to footnote liberally to elaborate and elucidate. Others are more sparing in their use of footnotes. If an obvious error is detected in the original (e.g., mismatched dates between the secular and Hebrew year), it is appropriate to footnote. The key here, as everywhere else, a) use common sense, and b) respect what the PC wants and appreciates.

Footnotes should be identified as “Translator's Footnotes” rather than “Research Notes.”

One should avoid footnoting terms and concepts that may be part of common knowledge. There is certainly a grey area here, and translators should use their judgment. (E.g. Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Sukka, Matzo, Tefillin, Shtetl, Kloiz, etc. do not need to be footnoted.)

If a footnote is very brief, it can be included in the text itself in square brackets. The criteria here is a judgment call as to whether the inclusion of the notes within the text interrupts the flow of the narrative.

An interesting question arises if a translator is adding footnotes, but there are also footnotes in the original text. There are several solutions:

  1. Two sets of footnotes, one called “Translator's Footnotes” and the other called “Text Footnotes”, with a different numbering system.
  2. If there are only very few text footnotes, they can be incorporated in the Translators Footnotes, with the preface: “A footnote appears in the text, as follows:”

 

Dates

If the text includes Hebrew days, and the translator wishes to convert the dates to the secular calendar (which we recommend as good practice), the secular date can be included in the text in parentheses or square brackets. Here is a useful Hebrew to Secular (or vice versa) date converter: https://www.hebcal.com/converter/ (Given that Hebrew days start at nightfall, there may be a one-day discrepancy in date conversion. This discrepancy is acceptable.)

 

Titles of Books and Works Quoted in Yizkor Books

These should be either put in quotes or italics. Either is acceptable, but translators must be consistent within each translation. Do not use quotes on one page and italics on the next page.

 

Pagination

It is appropriate to note the page breaks in the original book. This will assist readers and researchers who want to look up the original text. The preferred JewishGen style is [Page 352] .

 

Machine Translation

It is recommended that translators not use online translation tools (e.g., Google translate) for producing the main body of translation. These tools will not capture the nuance and mood of a historical translation. Furthermore, they are error-prone. These tools can be used by the translator as a resource for translating small snippets. The online Lexilogos dictionaries may also be a helpful resource for the translator:

Yiddish to English: https://www.lexilogos.com/english/yiddish_dictionary.htm#

Hebrew to English: https://www.lexilogos.com/english/hebrew_dictionary.htm#

 

Hebrew Transliteration

Many of the guidelines for the Hebraic translation style  use the kh or dotted h (ḥ) transliteration for the chet (khet, ches, khes) sound. On the other hand, a ch transliteration is generally more recognizable to the modern reader (e.g. Pesach vs. Pesakh), even though it may not differentiate between the chet and the chof.

Wikipedia has a detailed section on Hebrew transliteration. The following paragraph illustrates the challenges of transliteration. Translators might want to consult the Table in this article for different transliteration patterns.

“There are various transliteration standards or systems for Hebrew-to-English; no one system has significant common usage across all fields. Consequently in general usage there are often no hard and fast rules in Hebrew-to-English transliteration, and many transliterations are an approximation due to lack of equivalence between the English and Hebrew alphabets. Conflicting systems of transliteration often appear in the same text, as certain Hebrew words tend to associate with certain traditions of transliteration. For example,

For Hanukkah at the synagogue Beith Sheer Chayyim, Isaac donned his talis that Yitzchak sent him from Bet Qehila in Tsfat, Israel.

This text includes instances of the same word transliterated in different ways: The Hebrew word בית is transliterated as both Beith and Bet.

These discrepancies in transliterations of the same word can be traced to discrepancies in the transliterations of individual Hebrew letters, reflecting not only different traditions of transliteration into different languages that use Latin alphabets, but also the fact that different pronunciation styles exist for the same letters in Israel (e.g. mainstream secular Ashkenazi pronunciations used in the media versus Mizrahi, Arab, or Orthodox Ashkenazi colloquial pronunciations). For example, Hanukkah and Chayyim are transliterated with different initial letter combinations, although in Hebrew both begin with the letter ח; the use of “ch” reflects German / Yiddish influence and pronunciation, whereas the “h” or “ḥ” may indicate a softer pronunciation of ח as in ancient Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic or Mizrahi Hebrew. Similarly, the Hebrew letter ת is transliterated as th in the word Beith, s in the word talis, and t in the word Bet, even though it is the same letter in all three words in Hebrew. The Hebrew letter ק is transliterated as c in Isaac, k in Yitzchak, and q in Qehila. Finally, the Hebrew letter צ is transliterated variously as s (in Isaac [dubious – discuss]), tz (in Yitzchak), and ts (in Tsfat), again reflecting different traditions of spelling or pronunciation. These inconsistencies make it more difficult for the non-Hebrew-speaking reader to recognize related word forms, or even to properly pronounce the Hebrew words thus transliterated.”

new rules, and these were adopted as a United Nations standard in 2007. As of 2008, migration to the new transliteration standard is still underway, and many signs and documents still use the 1953 conventions. The new 2006 rules attempt to more closely follow Israeli Hebrew vowel habits (such as the collapse of many shva na), but stop short of adopting most of the informal transliteration patterns. It still transliterates the diphthong [e̞͡ɪ] as ⟨e⟩, and it still transliterates separate ⟨ẖ⟩ and ⟨kh⟩ in all cases. It is unspecific about rules governing the transliteration of phonemes not traditionally native to Hebrew.”

 

Reference Materials

These are not meant to dictate a style, but rather to provide the translator with useful background:

 

References on Yiddish Translation and Transliteration

https://yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Language/Yiddish
https://yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Language/Planning_and_Standardization_of_Yiddish
https://www.yivo.org/Yiddishland
https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/donation/guidelines.html
https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Kremenets/web-pages/documents/transliteration/Transliteration%20Guidelines,%20Hebrew%20

This is YIVO's Alef-Beys (Alphabet), widely used by translators.

Yiddish
Letter
Name of Letter Sound Romanization
א shtumer (silent) alef silent N/A
אַ pasekh alef a as in wa nd a
אָ komets alef o as in o re o
ב beys b as in b oy b
בֿ veys v as in v iolet v
ג giml g as in g old g
ד daled d as in d og d
ה hey h as in h ome h
ו vov oo as in roo m u
וּ melupm vov oo as in roo m u
ז zayen z as in z oo z
ח khes ch as in loch kh
ט tes t as in t oy t
י yud y as in y es;
i as in bi t;
ee as in bee t
y; i
כּ kof k as in k itchen k
כ khof ch as in loch kh
ך langer khof (used at end of word) ch as in loch kh
ל lamed l as in l ong l
מ mem m as in m ouse m
ם shlos mem (used at end of word) m as in m ouse m
נ nun n as in n ow n
ן langer nun (used at end of word) n as in n ow n
ס samekh s as in s ink s
ע ayen e as in e lm e
פּ pey p as in p ink p
פֿ fey f as in f arm f
ף langer fey (used at end of word) f as in f arm f
צ tsadek ts as in pats y ts
ץ langer tsadek (used at end of word) ts as in pats y ts
ק kuf k as in k itchen k
ר reysh r as in r ed r
ש shin sh as in sh op sh
שׂ sin s as in s ink s
תּ tof t as in t oy t
ת sof s as in s ink s

 

Letter
Combinations
Sound Romanization
וו v as in v iolet v
זש s as in meas ure zh
דזש j as in j udge dzh
טש ch as in ch eese tsh
וי oy as in toy oy
יי a as in da te ey
ײַ i as in ride ay

* * *

Guidelines for Translators of Yiddish

by Sonia Kovitz, Ph.D.

Accuracy

Your role is that of an interpreter between two distinct cultural as well as linguistic worlds. The reader of your translation will not be a teacher grading you by comparing the Yiddish and the English, side by side, but a researcher unable to read Yiddish who is relying on you to provide access to the material. The differences between the two worlds—which you do your best to bridge—turn translation into a balancing act. Your goal is to follow the vocabulary and phrasing of the author's choices as carefully as you can, in order to capture not just the basic meaning but the tone and the tam [flavor] of the piece.

  1. ·Too literal. Translating word for word (at the extreme, this is machine translation) in some cases results in nonsensical, stilted, or unclear language that creates the impression of a non-native English speaker. Use idiomatic English.
  2. ·Too free. Paraphrasing or rewriting in order to “improve” the original, such as making it more elegant, highflown, or contemporary (in anachronistic terms)—loses the baby with the bathwater.

 

Special Vocabulary
  1. Torah and frumkeit [piety]
  2. a wandering magid [preacher]
  3. And who remembers the many other names of the maskilim [“enlightened” adherents of the haskalah movement] and lomdim [scholars]?
  4. The three largest towns in Lithuania after Kovno—Shavel, Vilkomir and Ponevezh—appear on the map like a segol [Hebrew vowel whose written symbol is three dots forming a triangle].
  5. the virsheitis [Lithuanian: town elder] Maldutis came to the ghetto
  6. he arrived in a droshki [Russian: horse-drawn cart]
  7. their dacha [Russian: country house] was large but in disrepair

The following example, handled differently from the above, is intended to assist researchers who may wish to follow up on an address or comparable bit of specific local information:

Courtyard Street [hoyfishe gas]

 

Brackets […]

Brackets indicate an editorial insertion of material, such as translation or explanation, which was not in the original. Parentheses should be used only when the author used them in the original—not for a note by translator or editor.

 

Italics

Italicize all NON-ENGLISH words or phrases regardless of:

After providing a translation after the first occurence, there's no need to continue unless the occurences are few and far between in a long article, or it's a relatively unfamiliar term, in which case it's a judgment call.

 

WHICH non-English words/phrases to retain (transliterated from non-Latin alphabets as necessary) or simply translate:

My choice is to retain Yiddish and Hebrew terms (occasionally Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian as well) that describe a cultural concept or object characteristic of pre-Shoah Jewish (or Slavic) life that has no exact English equivalent, e.g. khevrah kadisha, nigun, treyf, talis, pilpul, gemora, shtibl, kloiz, gaon, mitsvah, gegesn teg, pinkas, maskil, apikoyris, bund, magid, kiddush hashem, shames, mitnagdim, musar, mikvah, daven, loshn koydesh… Keeping these precious words that are an inseparable part of traditional Jewish life—along with a brief explanation that may be unnecessary to some but helpful to others—gives the reader a richer and more intimate glimpse of that life.

Words that have entered general English usage may be used without italics in familiar (rather than YIVO) spelling, e.g. Chanukah. Nowadays some words, such as yeshiva and shtetl, fall somewhere in between; I opt for italics, but not everyone would agree. Whatever you decide, BE CONSISTENT.

Relatively obscure book titles that are most likely unfamiliar to contemporary readers may be either transliterated or translated. My choice is generally to translate, but this is a judgment call dependent on context.

Examples of words/phrases in European languages used by the Yiddish author and retained in the translation:

Weltanschauung [German: world-view]
[I've seen other examples in French and German—will find]

 

HOW to transliterate non-English words/phrases from non-Latin alphabets, after deciding to retain them

YIDDISH: use YIVO system.
http://www.hagalil.com/jidish/yivo.htm

Especially when transliterating names, remember:
Pasekh alef > a
Komets alef > o

 

HEBREW: use YIVO system following ASHKENAZIC pronunciation.
“You say Shabbos (or Shabbes), I say Shabbat”

http://www.templesanjose.org/JudaismInfo/writing/Hebrew_Alphabet.htm

There are three particularly significant differences: the vowel pronounced as “aw” in Ashkenazic is pronounced as “ah” in Sephardic; the vowel sometimes pronounced as “oy” in Ashkenazic is pronounced as “oh” in Sephardic. Lastly, the consonent Tav, which is always pronounced as “t” in Sephardic, differs in Ashkenazic pronunciation - Tav also has a soft sound, and is pronounced as an “s” when it does not have a dagesh. [excerpt from above site]

Ashkenazic Modern Sephardic
mitsvos mitsvot
kashrus kashrut
bas mitsvah bat mitsvah
haftorah haftarah

Retain final “h” for Hebrew feminine nouns ending in kametz-katon + hay [the sound “ah”] (General practice varies widely on this point.)

simkhah [no difference]
mishnah [no difference]
haskalah [no difference]

 

RUSSIAN: Library of Congress system.

http://clover.slavic.pitt.edu/~tales/lc.html

Hebrew and Yiddish have no capital letters, thus use all lower case in English transliteration. Again, this is an area where practice differs from translator to translator. Whatever you decide, be consistent. Even if you choose not to capitalize transliterated Hebrew or Yiddish, the bracketed translation that follows SHOULD use capitals when that is appropriate in English:

… readers of hamelitz and hatzefirah [“The Morning Star” and “The Dawn”—daily Hebrew newspapers], and old khovevei tzion [“Lovers of Zion,” an early Zionist group].

 

Other details

Tense

When the Yiddish author uses the present tense, whenever possible keep the English in the present also, since many pieces were written in the 1930s. (In some spots the book's editors added notes from a later perspective, after the Shoah.)

References before 1948 to “Palestine” should be left as such, since changing it to “Israel” would be anachronistic. Ditto “Leningrad” or “Petersburg”—retain the author's usage since it is part of the time in which he was writing.

 

Paragraphs

Very short Yiddish “paragraphs” that consist of just one or two sentences long may be combined into a single paragraph when they are closely related.

 

Numbers

 

Photograph with caption

Bold type, centered:

Photograph with caption: Rabbi Joseph Sh. Kahaneman,
the Ponevezher Rav, last rabbi from Ponevezh, now in Palestine.

Photograph with caption: Funeral of Duma Deputy Naftali Fridman,
Ponovezh, 1921. Photo provided by Meir Kaplan.

 

Formatting text

If you don't use Microsoft Word, do as little formatting as possible, especially regarding spacing. Don't use the space bar to indent or to center, since all the “spaces” have to be undone and the format redone using the “tab” or “indent” or “center” commands in Word.

 

References on Hebrew to English transliteration

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Hebrew

A particularly straightforward set of guidelines from Wikihow: https://www.wikihow.com/Translate-Hebrew-Into-English

Interesting background material: https://prizmah.org/transliterating-hebrew-how-we-do-it-hayidion

version 5,.2 8/4/2020

JewishGen Home Page


Copyright © 1999-2021 by JewishGen, Inc. .
Updated 21 Mar 2021 by LA