As an editor here at The Cascade, I see a lot of names — contributor’s names, professor’s names, the names of people having opinion articles written about them — and I try to make sure they’re spelled correctly, though mistakes certainly do happen. But I’ve noticed one underreported issue with modern technology (though maybe it’s just my white privilege to think it’s underreported and rarely discussed): non-English names and spell checkers. While it’s not uncommon to see that squiggly red line under my uncommon Hungarian surname, I’ve certainly never met a spell checker that took issue with “Jeff.” But when adding someone with a non-European name to my phone’s contacts, I inevitably have to tell my autocorrect that no, I really did mean to spell it that way. And now, while editing a story about Jagmeet Singh, I saw that red line under both of his names. Jagmeet is one thing, but Singh? It’s not exactly a rare name — it ranks in the top 100 most common in Canada. But apparently Google Docs’ spell check doesn’t know it.
I added it as a word to my spell checker, but I really shouldn’t have to.