bilingual or multilingual editing in OpenStreetMap

I was just wondering about good practices with regards to which language(s) edits should or can be in. I noticed that when I was in the Czech Republic recently, that nearly all of the names were in the way they are called in Czech with almost no equivalents in English. When I was in Germany, nearly all of the names were likewise only in German with very few equivalents in English or other languages. Likewise in China, it seems nearly all of the edits are only in Chinese, specifically using only in Chinese characters.

I of course feel this is very logical to have the names of the places in the language(s) of the specific places. But, also I feel that if the edits are only in the language of the specific country that this can make it very difficult to use the map for those who don’t know the language of the country, or how to type in or read the specific country’s orthography. It seems though that what Google Maps does, often with having bilingual maps, is quite helpful hope Openstreetmap could adopt bilingual maps as well.

So, I was wondering, is it possible to have names of places in Openstreetmap in a form that are optionally bilingual or even multilingual? And if so, how can one do it? That is to say, I would like to be able to search for place names in the native language of a country, and also in another language, likely English. If this is discouraged, please say why.

Edits should be in the local language. Foreign names can be also added into extra keys (in iD Editor you can click onto the “+”-Button in the name tab).

Maybe because there exist not much equivalents? It’s disputed to add transliterations to OSM because those often can be computed (look for example at China in the german map mentioned at the end of this posting).

See link above. Search is already possible, just search for “Munich” for example.

Some localized maps:

multilingual English Map:
French Map:
partly multilingual German Map:

You are aware that the Mapquest style shows English names where possible? For example in Greece, the name:en tag is widely used, which IMHO is a very good idea.

also see and