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Revision as of 12:12, 20 June 2005 by Jiang (talk | contribs) (Chinese: corrected some factual inaccuracies on 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.


  • For article titles, use the most common English name for a place, regardless of character set. See Wikitravel:Article naming conventions for details.
  • In article content, use the correct diacritics at least the first time the name is given.
  • If a location has a common English name, use the common name as the title, but also provide the local script and correct romanization in parentheses.
    • Example: Xilin pagoda (西林塔 Xīlíntǎ)



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:

  • Include Chinese characters when possible.
  • Use the most romanization rendered in English. This generally means:
  • 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.
  • 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 mainland China, use Hanyu pinyin romanization and simplified form Chinese characters.
  • Use tone marks, not tone numbers.

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


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, which is particularly useful for the traveller as it is widely used in maps.

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

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


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 esp. 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.
  • Always romanize ん as n, but create a redirect from the m form if common.
  • Use apostrophes only for syllable disambiguation.
  • Include Japanese characters when possible.

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


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.
    • Koh (not Ko) for islands
  • When in doubt, use the Royal Thai General System of Transcription, 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"
    • Always use RTGS if providing the pronunciation after a Thai name, eg. กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep for the city known in English as Bangkok
  • Include Thai characters when possible.

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