Wanted: What’s His Name Again?

| January 27, 2003 Issue

When the FBI announced that Adil Pervez was wanted for questioning, separate Internet postings declared that Adel Pervaiz and Adil Pervaz were wanted, too. The multiple listings weren’t due to clerical error, but linguistic discrepancies. “To get a taste of this difficulty, type ‘Lybian strongman’ into Google.” suggests Steve Mollman in Wired News. “Among the unrelated results, you’ll see 50 or so spellings for Mohmmar Qadaffi.” To remedy this confusion, software companies are pushing to create more effective foreign name search tools. Basis Technology CEO Carl Hoffman leads the pack, urging the U.S. government to adopt Unicode-compliant systems that would display and process names both as they’re written in English and in their native language.
Erin Ferdinand

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