I'm trying to figure out the best way to manually provide a transcription/transliteration of author names by way of an additional field in the biliography entry using biblatex. Take for example the following definition:

    title = "Основы фонологии",
    author = "Н. С. Трубецкой",
    year = "1960",
    publisher = "Иностранная литература",
    address = "Москва",
    newAliasField = "Trubetskoy"

My requirements are as follow:

  1. The author name(s) for all citations of a source with this alias field should replace the author name entirely with the contents of the field (but otherwise format the citation exactly the same way). So, with the example source above, using various citation commands we might normally get the following:

    "Трубецкой (1960)", "(Турбецкой, 1960)", "Трубецкой (1960, p. 118)", etc.

    I would instead like to get this:

    "Trubetskoy (1960)", "(Trubetskoy, 1960)", "Trubetskoy (1960, p. 118)", etc.

  2. The citation in the bibliography should be sorted by this field, not by the author field.

  3. The bibliography should include this field somehow. So the default might be something like this:

    Трубецкой, Н. С. (1960). Основы фонологии. Москва: Иностранная литература.

    I haven't decided on the specifics yet, but I'd like something along these lines:

    [Trubetskoy] Трубецкой, Н. С. (1960). Основы фонологии. Москва: Иностранная литература.

  4. None of this should conflict with the other options I have set up for my bibliography and citations. I use XeLaTeX and am currently using the lsalike bibstyle, and the following arguments to the biblatex package:


The motivation for this is to keep references in the bibliography in the original language and script (transcribing, transliterating, or translating the entire bibliographic entry is not an option for reasons of authenticity and language politics), while at the same time providing citations that can be read in the language of my document by people who can't read the script of the source. And, of course, a link needs to be maintained between the two.

  • Sadly the multiscript feature in biblatex has not yet arrived in the release version (cf github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/416). You could use the shortauthor field for the romanised versions, then we just need to modify the style to print the shortauthor as well. Unfortunately I don't know the lsalike style, where did you get it?
    – moewe
    Jul 1, 2016 at 16:34
  • Actually, it turns out I don't have lsalike.bst or lsalike.sty in my latex path, and the format isn't quite what I would expect from that style. It's weird that neither xelatex nor biber seem to be complaining about this, and it's not clear which style it's using in the end... Old versions of lsalike and the more recent lsalikealt are both floating around the internet and are findable, but this may not be what I want in the end. Jul 1, 2016 at 22:29
  • @moewe, using the shortauthor field sounds like what I want. Assuming something fairly boilerplate like apa (or whatever it might be falling back to, which I can't find in the logs), how might the style be modified? It seems to work well in terms of the citations! Jul 1, 2016 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


Based on @moewe's tip about shortauthor and this answer to a related question, I was able to come up with a solution that works for me.

Here's my new bibliography definition:

    shortauthor = "Trubetskoy",
    sortkey = "Trubetskoy",
    title = "Основы фонологии",
    author = "Н. С. Трубецкой",
    year = "1960",
    publisher = "Иностранная литература",
    address = "Москва",

In addition to this, I'm using the following macro:

    \ifboolexpr{test {\usebibmacro{bbx:dashcheck}} or test {\ifnameundef{shortauthor}}}%

By doing this I get the bib entry formatted as follows:

Latin-script version in brackets preceding normal native-script entry

and sorted based on its Latin-script transcription.

  • I guess there's a more correct way to do brackets in a biblatex... Does anyone have more information on whether using [] directly like I did is bad? Jul 20, 2016 at 17:28

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