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Wikitravel:Romanization

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Romanization is the process of mapping a script into the Latin alphabet used for English. This page attempts to provide guidelines for romanization on Wikitravel.

As a rule of thumb, romanization should allow the casual reader to guess at the pronunciation, and the expert to pronounce it right.

General[edit]

  • In article content, use the correct diacritics at least the first time the name is given.
  • When linking to destinations, the local script is unnecessary clutter. That is, the Tokyo article is linked to as "Tokyo", not "Tokyo (東京)"; if somebody wants or needs to know the script and reading, it's just a click away.

Places[edit]

The following guidelines apply to any places in listings (See, Do, Eat, Drink, Sleep, etc.)

  • If a place has a common English name use it, but always provide the local script and correct romanization in parentheses.
    • Example: Xilin Pagoda (西林塔 Xīlíntǎ) ...
  • If a place has no English name at all, use the romanization as the name and give the script in parentheses.
    • Example: Khrop Khrueang (ครบเครื่อง), Ari Samphan Soi 10. Famous for its kuay tiao yam bok rice noodles...

When using listings tags, the alt parameter can be used to specify the local script and its romanization, and they will automatically be formatted correctly. Examples:

* <listing name="Xilin Pagoda" alt="西林塔 Xīlíntǎ"></listing>
* <listing name="Khrop Khrueang" alt="ครบเครื่อง"></listing>
  • Xilin Pagoda (西林塔 Xīlíntǎ).  edit
  • Khrop Khrueang (ครบเครื่อง).  edit

Terms[edit]

The following guidelines apply to any local terms used in other content (the introductory glosses of any section, cultural coverage, etc.)

  • If you want to give the local name of any term, place both local script and romanization in parentheses after the English name.
    • Example: One Japanese specialty worth seeking out is eel (うなぎ unagi) ...
  • If using a romanized term in text, italicize it and provide the local script in parentheses. If you want to include a literal translation, this can also go within the parentheses, but in quotes.
    • Example: In Thailand, Western-style black tea is known as chaa ron (ชาร้อน, lit. "tea hot") ...

Languages[edit]

If you find an article (or phrasebook) that does not follow the conventions below, and you're unable to fix it, please tag it with the {{transcription|romanization system}} tag, which looks like this:

Phrases in this section are not consistently transcribed with Bongo-Bongo and Wikitravel's romanization guidelines. If you are familiar with the language, please help fix them up!


Chinese[edit]

Pinyin tone reference chart
Tone a e i o u ü
1 ā ē ī ō ū ǖ
2 á é í ó ú ǘ
3 ǎ ě ǐ ǒ ǔ ǚ
4 à è ì ò ù ǜ

Chinese romanization is complicated by the vast variety of dialects used and some intractable political difficulties. Rules of thumb are:

  • For articles about mainland China, use Hanyu pinyin romanization and simplified form Chinese characters.
  • For articles about Hong Kong and Macau, use Cantonese with Yale romanization and traditional Chinese characters. However, if the most commonly used name is under a different system, use that and not Yale.
  • For articles about Taiwan, use Wade-Giles romanization (without the necessary apostrophes) for older and well-known place names and either Hanyu pinyin or Tongyong pinyin for lesser known placenames (depending on which political party is controlling the locality, but we won't delve into that mess here). The Chinese characters included should be in traditional format.
  • Use tone marks, not tone numbers. Use the tone converter if necessary. If you don't know the tones, leave them out and somebody will add them later.
    • 中国 is Zhōngguó, not Zhong1 Guo2
  • Use space between words, not between every syllable. Don't capitalize each syllable.
    • 南大街 is Nándàjiē (South-Great-Street), not Nan Da Jie or NanDaJie
    • 天河北路 is Tiānhé Běilù (Heaven-Lake North-Road)
  • Do not use tone marks for article titles, but give them in the intro.
    • Shanghai (上海 Shànghǎi) is a city.
  • Place parentheses around Chinese characters and their pinyin readings. Do not use bold or quote marks.
    • Beer (啤酒 píjiǔ) is very common in China.

See also: WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Manual of Style (China-related articles)

Hebrew[edit]

Hebrew romanization is highly nonstandard and complicated by the existence of numerous dialects with varying pronunciations. The closest to an official standard is the United Nations romanization (ISO 259), which is particularly useful for the traveller as it is widely used in maps and signage.

  • Use United Nations romanization, with the following two exceptions:
    • Use "h" for het (ח), not ẖ (h-underscore)
    • Use "tz" for tzadi (ץ צ), not ẕ (z-underscore)

Examples: Petah Tikva (פֶּתַח תִּקְוָה), Bnei Brak (בְּנֵי בְּרַק)

The surrogates above are widely used in Israel itself, and are easily supported by PCs for display and entry.

That said, some places in Israel have well known English names that differ from the Hebrew: thus Jerusalem (not Yerushalayim) and Hebron (not Hevron).

Korean[edit]

Korean romanization is comparatively straightforward.

  • For North Korea, use standard McCune-Reischauer, which remains the country's sole official system. (However, do not use the North Korean variant of MR.)
    • Omit breves and apostrophes from article titles (eg. Pyongyang), but leave them in content (P'yŏngyang).
  • For personal names use the nameholder's preference or common convention (eg. Kim Il-sung, not "Kim Il-sŏng", and Syngman Rhee, not "I Seung-man"). The same applies to Hangul, kimchi and taekwondo.

Japanese[edit]

Macron reference chart
a e i o u
Āā Ēē Īī Ōō Ūū

For Japanese, Hepburn (written by an American for foreigners) has been the de facto standard of romanization for the past 100 years especially in publications geared to foreigners, while official standard Kunrei (written by Japanese for Japanese) is used very little. Thus:

  • Use Hepburn romanization.
  • Indicate long vowels with macrons, except in article titles.
  • Always romanize ん as n, but create a redirect from the m form if common. For example, 群馬 is Gunma, but you can still search for Gumma.
  • Syllabic n ん is written n' (with apostrophe) when followed by a vowel or y, but not when followed by another n or another consonant. Hence 山陽 is San'yō but 新橋 is Shinbashi.

See also: WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)

Thai[edit]

Thai romanization is generally a mess, with several incompatible 'standards' and lots of completely nonstandard off-the-cuff attempts. In general:

  • Use the most common English name for article names.
  • When in doubt, use the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS), used in road signs, time tables and government publications, and the closest thing there is to an official standard.
    • Hence Khao San Road, not "Kao Sarn", and Ayutthaya, not "Ayodhya"
    • In particular, Ko (not Koh) for islands
    • Always use RTGS if providing the pronunciation after a Thai name, eg. กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep for the city known in English as Bangkok

See also: WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Thailand-related articles)

Vietnamese[edit]

Vietnamese is actually written in the Latin alphabet, but the vast slew of tonal diacritics make handling it a little difficult.

  • Strip diacritics from article titles, but include them in the article body.
    • Hanoi (Hà Nội) is the capital of Vietnam...
  • Syllables should be separated in article titles and content, but include the combined form in the article body if it's a reasonably common alternative.

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