[OSM-talk] Rendering barangays for the Philippines

Sven Rautenberg sven at rtbg.de
Thu Nov 27 13:56:24 GMT 2008

David Earl wrote:
> Here's an example of how I'm seeing it working: User T is Thai so sets 
> JOSM to work in Thai (I'm not considering UIs here, just the data). JOSM 
> tells the API that's what the language is when it uploads or downloads. 
> So T's download automatically sees what I know as a village as 
> thai-for-village. N, the Norwegian visitor to Bangkok entered that 
> village the previous day in norwegian-for-village having told Potlatch 
> she was working in Norwegian. T decides it is really a town, so changes 
> it to town-in-thai and uploads it. N downloads it the following day and 
> sees town-in-norwegian. Mapnik also sees it and renders town-as-a-symbol.

You are ignoring the fact that human languages rarely produce
interchangeable words which really mean the same. Each language is
heavily influenced by it's peoples history.

Just let's pick up your village-example. In German we name it "Dorf". If
you ask how to translate "Dorf" to English, you'll get "village" and
"cottage". "cottage" translates back either to "Dorf" (multiple houses),
but also as "Häuschen, Hütte, Landhaus" (forms of a single house). Just
think of someone inventing a Tag "cottage", which should be translated?
Which meaning does apply?

The best example for such an untranslatable word is "trunk" as in
"highway=trunk". What is this? In the UK, it is a declaration that a
street is part of the main road system, but it does in no way indicate
any kind of traffic rules, number of lanes to expect etc. In fact, any
trunk road could end up being anything from motorway down to
unclassified if it hadn't been labelled "trunk" by the authorities.

This "trunk" produces all kinds of strange conflicts because of its
unclear meaning, which leads to having every country define which kind
of road should be tagged as "trunk". In Germany we chose to tag roads
which are similar to "Autobahn" (dual carriageway or four lanes), but
lack the blue road sign. But this is simply not what you'd expect in
Great Britain.

By simply translating the word "trunk", you'll end up in a mess if you
have Germans running around in the UK, retagging every trunk road as
primary road because it is no "Kraftfahrstrasse" (or whatever the
translation would be).


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