English street names from signs

I’m working on some edits based on a recent trip to Israel. I noticed that some English names on OSM don’t match what are on the signs. Before I change any names, I wanted to check if the name on the sign should be used for the name:en=* tag. (I know some work was done on names (https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=19449), so I wanted to check before changing anything.)

Some examples:
Two streets in Katamon:
name = החי"ם
name:en = HaHim
name:en1 = HaHaim
Street is signposted “HACHIM ST.” (presumably HaChim)
should I use name:en=HaChim (moving the existing name:en to name:en2)?
name = דוסתאי
name:en = Dustai
Street is signposted “DOSTAI ST.”
should I use name:en=Dostai (and move Dustai to name:en1)?

One street in Ness Ziona:
name = רוטשילד
name:en = Rotschild
name:en1 = Rothschild (+ other variants)
signposted as Rothschild - swap name:en and name:en1?

and a place in northern Israel:
name = المغار
name:he = מר’אר
name:en = Mrar
name:en3 = Mughar (+ other variants)
I saw one sign with the Mughar spelling, none with Mrar - swap name:en and name:en3?
(Wikipedia has a different spelling - Maghar - but I didn’t see any signs with this spelling.)

(There are probably others, but I wanted to ask before I started work on names.)


Most street signs in Isreal are not using proper English names. The names are usually transliterated from their Hebrew or Arabici origin. There are exceptions for places with well-established English names, such as Jerusalem.

The official guides fot the verious transliterations can be found at https://hebrew-academy.org.il/%D7%9B%D7%9C%D7%9C%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%AA%D7%A2%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%A7/ However, the guides are in Hebrew…

Since the transliteration is not well-known, and it has some unusual rules, some OSM contributors tend ignore the “facts on the ground” guideline and use their personal transliteration. There are also some localities and outhorities that do the same.

In short, I don’t have an advice for you. It is more like a warning about a potential hornets nest :wink:

Additionally, many times I saw signs with different English name version at the same street :slight_smile:
I’d advise to not touch the main name:en and add missing English version into next numbered name:en# tag (of course, if it makes sense. signs are made by people, and mistakes and typos can happen even there). Also, I’d personally expect that same street name across whole country would be written in the same manner.
I hope that one day we’ll have an official source for proper transliterated names and will align all of them.

Is alt_name:en one of possible variants?

Well, accordingly to alt_name wiki:

So, alt_name fits well for all name:en# tags.
Let’s discuss such a mass change in the Automated edits for name tags thread

In summary: leave name:en alone, and add variations to name:en#. Thanks for the advice (and warning about hornets nests!)

When I visited Kiryat Mal’akhi quite a few years ago, the street signs for סן דייגו street read Sun Diego. This is one of the silliest mistakes I’ve seen, but there are many other more subtle ones. Moreover, many places use Q for ק which is falling out of favor; and most importantly, the signage is not consistent between cities. Therefore I suggest to use a consistent guideline, such as the Academy’s one linked above, with minor modifications so that it’s usable on modern computers, such as in the case of transliterating ח.