[OSM-talk] Name:* tags in the local language

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Tue Apr 24 18:27:12 UTC 2018

On 24.04.2018 19:23, Paul Norman wrote:
> It is sometimes recommended that when you add a name in another language
> you also indicate the name in the local language by adding a suitable
> name:* tag at the same time. For example, if adding "name:fr=Londres" to
> London, you would also add "name:en=London" if it weren't present.
> This practice is not widely followed.

I have to say I'm not a fan of this practice, at least for
straightforward cases.

Yes, there are parts of the world where explicit language information is
necessary. But in many others, there is an obvious default, and it feels
wrong to require mappers to manually repeat this on millions of
individual elements. Don't add extra tags to German names in Germany,
for example – tag the exceptions from the rule instead.

As a less important secondary point, I also consider the specific
tagging (duplicating the name with a different key) counter-intuitive
and would prefer a "language of the name" key, with the language given
as the value. The purpose of that tag would be much more
self-documenting than with the recommendation described above.

That being said, displaying labels in the user's language is an exciting
use case, and I hope we can find a solution that allows your project to
succeed. Could you elaborate a bit more on the technical limitations
regarding regional processing?

> Fixing this in software doesn't work
> well because it requires regional processing of what are increasingly
> small regions as you get to less used languages.

You mention increasingly small regions as the obstacle. Would that still
allow for the pragmatic compromise of setting country-level defaults,
and using explicit tagging only for smaller-scale language regions?

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