I have followed a couple of different methods (Iso 9 and Passport 2010) and have looked at others which are mentioned on this wiki page, but no matter what I do, something like the name Александр ends up getting rendered in Latin as having ks instead of x. I am quite happy with rendering that name as Aleksandr, but in the end I need to compare the transliteration with say the way the name is printed in English language newspapers. I am just wondering where one gets the x from?

  • This is offtopic here as English language transliteration rules have little to do with Russian language and usage.
    – Quassnoi
    Nov 24, 2012 at 21:55
  • You are wrong. There is a set of rules like GOST R 52535.1-2006, that strictly defines transliteration rules for Russian names and families used for foreign passports. This transliteration based on English form. Prior to 2000s was used another form based on French language (language of international post and document exchange). And Александр Пушкин in old notation would be Aleksandre Pushkine. In new notation it should be Aleksandr Pushkin, but there is no strict control at immigration office and Aleksandr may be written in passport as Alexander or Alexandr, it is up to you.
    – las
    Nov 27, 2012 at 2:00
  • Under nothing but author's wish to use x instead of ks. Some people like to use it, because it's shorter and prettier in some sense. Dec 6, 2012 at 9:06

1 Answer 1


On the whole, I do not believe there are strict rules about when кс should become x and when it should become ks. Most of the times, the transliteration will either follow some traditional rules or just be whatever the person writing it decides.

Specifically, Russian name Александр and English/Latin name Alexander both originate from Greek name Αλεξανδρος. Greek letter ξ (Xi) is pronounced as ks in Greek. Because in English (Latin), there's letter x, which is pronounced (in most cases) as ks, the English writing of the name is more closely conforms to the original Greek writing. In Russian (Cyrillic) there is no such letter, therefore sound combination ks has to be indicated by the closest possible way, which is letter combination кс. Thus, comparing transliteration rules from Russian into English in this case isn't particularly useful.

  • Is there really an occurrence in English where x is not ks?
    – Alenanno
    Nov 24, 2012 at 12:35
  • @Alenanno As far as I can think, when transliterating from English into Russian, x will always become кс in Russian. When transliterating from Russian into English, you will sometimes see кс transliterated as x and sometimes as ks, often on the same word.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 24, 2012 at 15:49
  • @Alenanno In some cases, English letter x may correspond to кз in a related Russian word, for example exam is экзамен.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 24, 2012 at 15:51
  • Wait, I think you meant there were ks words in English, not Russian. :)
    – Alenanno
    Nov 24, 2012 at 15:51

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