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The Big Ol' Problem with Apostrophes

A new AP story relates the collective adversity linked to computers' ill-treatment of names with apostrophes and other "confusing" punctuation...




A new AP story relates the collective adversity linked to computers' ill-treatment of names with apostrophes and other "confusing" punctuation marks.

Beyond the Irish O'Connors, French D'Artagnans, and commonly apostrophe-laden Italian and African names, computers have trouble with the dastardly hyphens of Arab monikers and the vans and vons and spaces of the Dutch.

The confusion-caused by erasing, dismissing, dividing or otherwise distorting the names-can extend to nuisances in voter registration, medical and dental records, gym memberships, online searches, school registration and beyond.

One specialist explains, "Most programs set a rule for first name and last name. They don't think of foreign-sounding names." Take that, alternative spelling.







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