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Serbo-Croatian grammar requires that only the first word of a multi word name of a place or an object is capitalized. For example, "Stari most" is a name of a bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

If we don't translate the name to English do we capitalize both words as "Stari Most" or do we keep the native language capitalization?

  • Google it. It looks at the convention is to capitalize both words in English. – Andy Schweig May 2 '16 at 0:05
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    Serbo-Croatian orthography. Grammar says nothing on capitalisation. English ortography says all words in a name have to be capitalised (and be in Latin alphabet). Consider this: "宮崎駿" ("miyazakihayao") becomes "Hayao Miyazaki"; why wouldn't "Stari most" become "Stari Most"? – Amadan Jul 1 '16 at 6:06
  • Why is it not therefore "Bosnia-herzegovina"? – WS2 Oct 31 '17 at 7:11
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Loan words, including proper names, inevitably succumb to the conventions of the language that borrows them. Hence the Serbo-Croat Stari most will inevitably (and quite reasonably) be rendered by most native speakers of English as Stari Most, because using the initial capital in all the important elements of a proper name is a critical marker of what is a proper name in English.

Indeed, in this example, without being capitalized, most would cause the majority of readers to do a double-take, because its spelling and capitalization will cause it to be readily confused with the English adjective most.

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If we do not translate the names (and more often than not we do not or should not translate them), I believe the original spelling & capitalization is more appropriate (maybe consider the use of italics for names that consist of two or more words).

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