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.