Hiya all. I'm new to wikitravel and while contributing to the entry on Utrecht I ran into a question about this whole language thing. Now, I understand the principle, I'm just not entirely clear on how far to take it. Specifically, should it be applied to the names of establishments like bars, theatres etc., or should these be left in the original language.
In keeping with the the traveller comes first idea, I'd say they should stay in the original language. After all, if I went to Utrecht, I'd be looking for a restaurant with a sign that says Stadskasteel Oudaen and not Citycastle Oudaen. Now, in this case the Oudaen is a giveaway, but if it wasn't part of the name, then the confusion would be complete.
Anyways, I was wondering what the consensus is on this issue.
Gorath99 11:33, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Yeah, that's a tough question. We haven't been particularly consistent about it, but this'd be my opinion: I'd probably say "the most common English name" is probably applicable here, too. I think it's extremely rare that businesses -- restaurants, stores, bars, hotels -- have different names in English and the local language. It's still rare, but occasionally there are notable local attractions that have different names in English than in the local language. An example that springs to mind is "The Eiffel Tower" (La Tour Eiffel). I'd think the former would be a more useful name than the latter (although we should probably list the local name, too, for reference). --Evan 21:52, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I think in this case, just a restaurant not some international landmark, I'd go with the name on the door and not some off-hand translation. I used to inisit on calling Demilune bar in Geneva Half moon just to be silly, and this seems to fall into that category, not the Tour/Tower category. We should always give the translation as well: "The Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) / "Stadskasteel Oudaen" (City castle Oudaen)-- how's that sound?. Majnoona 21:58, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Sounds good to me. Seems like you get the best of both worlds this way. Gorath99 13:19, 2004 Jul 8 (EDT)
Even if the traveler can't be expected to read the name on the door, I think it should be provided so you can match up the funny squiggles with those on your printed Wikitravel and say "Yep, this must be it" : Osaka#Eat -- Paul Richter 03:57, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I'd don't want to reopen this particular can of worms. But I would like to see one thing added to the policy. It would be nice if Asian place names could be written in full native-language Unicode format in a limited set of circumstances:
If the place name is something like a subway station, where it is helpful to have a printed version of the characters so one can compare it to station names to figure out when to get off the train, we should permit non-English characters.
If the place name is something that might be useful to show to someone who doesn't speak English, it is useful to permit non-English characters in the guide. For example, if you need to take a Taxi to your hotel, maybe having the street name in local format would be useful so you could point at it.
I think prefixing the language is A-OK in case where there is any potential for confusion, but I think it's pretty redundant for (eg.) obscure Japanese podunk towns where it should be darn obvious that the name in question is in Japanese. Any ideas for how to codify this? Jpatokal 03:46, 25 Jan 2005 (EST)
I think that the first time a foreign language name is used in an article the language should be indicated as English language name (language:foreign language name). As an optional extra, the language could link to the phrasebook. All other foreign language translations should then be italicised the first time they are used, as either:
foreign language word (English translation)
English place name or word (foreign language translation)
If there is any confusion, such as multiple languages being used, then languages should be indicated for each word. (However, this should be avoided if possible.)
If an English translation of a foreign place name is given because this gives greater understanding then one could use Foreign Place Name in its English Form (literally:English literal translation) or (translation:English translation)
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (German:Großglockner Hochalpenstraße) (literally:Big Bell High Alpine Street/Road) or (translation:Grossglockner High Alpine Road)
If there can be no confusion as to the language being used, such as ideographs, say Chinese characters, then (Ideographs) is probably sufficient.
Me like. However, I think that glosses should be in quotes, like so: Jpatokal 06:43, 25 Jan 2005 (EST)
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (German:Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, "Big Bell High Alpine Street/Road")
"Quotes" work for me too, I hadn't considered that. Though it could get confusing if the place was named after a saying, as happens with a lot of Maori placenames in New Zealand, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. -- Huttite 06:54, 25 Jan 2005 (EST)
I'm not sure I'm quite clear on the utility of prefixing the language except in the odd case of Freiboug where there are two local languages. Otherwise shouldn't the local language just be assumed? -- Mark
I think one reminder per article is probably pretty OK. --Evan 11:21, 25 Jan 2005 (EST)