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(from https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/28552716 )

Ethnologue says that there are > 7000 languages in the world. Taginfo says that there are 44,000,000 names in OSM. Clearly it makes no sense to have every name translated or "soundalike transliterated" into 7,000 other languages - OSM would soon become nothing more than a list of translations.


Some places - for example Denmark - really do have names that are different languages; some do not.

If you've just converted the "sound" of a word in one language to the same sound in another language, it's not worth storing it in OSM - do the translation externally and store it in your rendering (or whatever) database downstream from OSM.

If a place does not have a name in a particular language you should not make one up just to appear in a certain character set.

Examples - where name translations are valuable

In a place of international significance

  • London for example is known internationally by different names.

In a place which has a name in multiple languages

Examples - where name translations are not valuable

On a smaller town

Leicester for example does not need a Korean name translation

On a boundary relation

Example of boundary way "naming" getting out of control. Boundary ways don't need names *at all* , they're at best there for the benefit of mappers working the area.

See Also

  • Names - needs more emphasis of the fact that the name:* tags are for names in other languages, not names translated or transliterated to other languages
  • Multilingual names