Usage of less common German translations of city names

We’ve noticed a similar thing here in Australia, where small country towns & villages have had name:ru, name:zh & various other languages added. It would be very highly doubtful though that anybody would refer to a village of 200 people in country Australia by a Russian, Chinese or any other name!


Yeah, seems to be strange. But for ‘ru’ and ‘zh’ the difference is not the language only but also the non-latin alphabet. So could be reasonable to have “Alice Springs” in Cyrillic letters for the sake of being able to pronounce it correctly as a Russian speaking person?

Just my 2€ ct

I, personally, will leave the decision whether this is OK or necessary to the local mappers.

dem stimme ich zu. Aber, und mal ganz grob gesprochen: je weiter ich vom Ort entfernt wohne, desto weniger relevant wird meine Meinung dazu, oder?
Das spricht mMn dafür, die Entscheidung den lokalen Mappern (d/m/w) zu überlassen.

Most of those examples follow the exonym recommendations by the StAGN, see - e.g. Fünfkirchen or Stuhlweißenburg in Hungary. I’d still consider some of those examples as a candidate for old_name:de instead of name:de (and bear in mind that the publication is dated as well, published 2002).

If you are looking out for a German embassy while walking around in Bratislava, you’ll find the “Deutsche Botschaft Pressburg”. Preßburg once had been the name:de for Bratislava in OSM data as well (about five years ago) while now name:de has Bratislava and you’ve got an old_name:de entry of Preßburg. But then you’ll find some regions in Austria where the use of Preßburg or Pressburg is still common. The same with Laibach.

E.g. in regard to the style at and the ordering of local name vs name:de: countries and capitals (and large cities) get the localized name (e.g. Italien, Rom) first while otherwise you get the local name first, see localized_name_first and localized_name_second in openstreetmap-carto-de/project.mml at master · giggls/openstreetmap-carto-de · GitHub.

I don’t think this is sufficient. For instance think about “Peking”. Do you think any local will care about/ now about how we call the Chinese capital? Or vice versa do you think any German mapper will take a look into name:zh?
Of course no Chinese (without German language skills) will understand or use “Peking”. In the end, name:de have to be carefully maintained by German community and to be clear, Wikipedia is not really a source in that regards.

This is, strictly speaking, a different problem, that of transliteration. Again widely discussed on various mailing lists in the past, for instance this thread.

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In some cases, absolutely they will. One very well-known example at the moment is “Kyiv”. People in Ukraine have been very vocal that people referring to their capital in other languages should use that Ukrainian name and not a version of the Russian name “Kiev”. They don’t have direct control of that of course, since they don’t have direct control of what word people not in Ukraine use; but certainly where I am “Kyiv” is far more widely used now.

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Yeah, I agree w.r.t. this global aspect.

I wasn’t clear enough in my statement:

I guess, the OP was referring to villages in Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, … where some centuries ago people migrated from Germany (“Siebenbürger Sachsen”, …) to the area, founded villages, towns, …
Some areas were part of the Austrian Empire and got/had (?) German names. Some people over there still speak German, the names of the villages have been changed to Hungarian, Slovenian, … names, but still the German names are in use (by a minority?).

‘name:de’ versus ‘old_name:de’ in these particular cases should be decided by locals, I’d say.

This is very interesting, thank you. I didn’t know that those were actually still official names today.
And thanks to Street View, I now know that Pécs even has “Fünfkirchen” on its street sign. Others don’t, like Székesfehérvár, at least not on those I checked.

I must admit that I seem to be clearly wrong about those names being “weird”, obscure and unused today. Also, I made the mistake to think of OSM only as a map instead of the database that it really is. I am tempted to retract my original post and put shame on the products that use OSM data without giving enough thought to what the data actually means.
The way does it, having both names on the same map, seems to be best.


Initially, this is what I thought most of those names were. But the longer I think about them and the more research I do, the more I see that most of these names are not as old-fashioned and unused as I assumed they were.
I am not ashamed to admit my own arrogance on the subject and change my mind. :slight_smile:

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Indeed, I had a colleague who’s wife grew up in Romania as a German speaker in the 1980s (IIRC she qualified for German citizenship too).

For sure this applies for all internationally significant cities, objects and places. For small townships, villages natural objects and the like I would agree to @ToniE

as only people with local knowledge will know if a German name is locally in use (or at least known) or not or even unwelcome due to various reasons. The second topic I linked above discussed the same issue vice versa and most of the (German) participants argued that it cannot be accepted that some foreign mappers add names in foreing language to small German villages which are not in common use at all.

But then you’ll find some regions in Austria where the use of Preßburg or Pressburg is still common. The same with Laibach.

and arguably they are closer to the target than German speakers from Germany.

I think this isn’t the same. Ukraine in general prefers transcriptions follow the Ukrainian name and not the Russian. Which is understandable and may also occur in other places with colonial background. But it doesn’t say anything about how the city is called by most Germans :wink:

How local people should know there is a name for their place in German existing? Sure, local German minorities might know (but those I consider as Germans in this case). But how should a local Chinese villager know how Germans call his village? So in my understanding, it’s responsibility of the German community to decide, a name:de is existing or not.

Why should a German mapper bother about it how a foreigner calls his village? Isn’t it a bit strange? How does a local know about the “international relevancy” of his place. For instance it might be a place, Mao visited it once and therefore it’s super famous in China.

There are many similar cases. Chinese government pushed hard Peking vs Beijing as used in English, in Poland use of Danzig instead of Gdansk/Gdańsk in English would be unlikely to be liked and so on.

I can understand, it’s not liked, but still it won’t change something on the fact how Germans call the place.
The purpose of name:de is to show German-speaking folks how the object is called in their language. Therefore the tag needs to be name:de=Peking and not name:de=Beijing

Das stimmt so nicht:

  • es ging um Namen, die aus einem rein akademischen Werk stammten, in dem Namen von westslawischen Siedlungen und anderer geografischer Bezeichnungen aus einer Sprache (meist eben Polabisch), die bereits seit mehreren hundert Jahren als ausgestorben gilt, nach wissenschaftlichen Kriterien ins Polnische “übersetzt” wurden. Es waren also Namen, die nie gebräuchlich waren. Dies wurde auch von den polnischen Mapperkollegen bestätigt.
  • zudem gab es etliche handwerkliche Fehler, zum einen bereits in dem wissenschaftlichen Werk (Orte, die keine westslawischen Ursprung haben), zum anderen durch den Mapper (falsch georeferenziert, den falschen Objekten zugeordnet)

Apart from the no doubt copious discussion in regional discussion forums, this 2014 mailing list thread mentions a consensus about using old_name:de or a date-qualified subkey thereof.

Maybe this isn’t primarily a question of whether the mapper is local or non-local. Maybe it’s more important to distinguish between names that were added for practical reasons versus names that were added overzealously by a language enthusiast for the sake of it.

I’m not sure it’s possible to have exactly the same policy regardless of language, because each language’s speakers have slightly different expectations. For example, my understanding is that, when traveling abroad, Chinese-speaking tourists expect that maps display Chinese translations or transcriptions much more than Western tourists expect translated names. This includes hotel or restaurant names that aren’t signposted in Chinese. Presumably it’s related to the more challenging language barrier and difference in writing systems. This wouldn’t necessarily justify blanketing every restaurant everywhere with a Chinese transcription, but maybe it would be acceptable in the most touristy places.

Another tricky aspect is determining which of a language’s names is most common and relevant to the map. For example, Berlin is tagged old_name:vi=Bá Linh for a name that only older or well-read Vietnamese speakers still remember, as opposed to the more current names adapted from German, French, or English. On the other hand, many other cities like London have Vietnamese names as old-fashioned as “Bá Linh” that continue to be used very widely. A local German speaker might not be able to make this distinction based on a stray reference on a handwritten sign posted at a shop door they happen to survey.

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