multilingual names in Canada

Posted by scruss on 19 August 2017 in English (English)

Something in the weekly newsletter caught my eye:

Miguel Sevilla Callejo (msevilla00) from Zaragoza, Spain, is currently in Wales. He noticed an inconsistent use of English and Welsh in OpenStreetMap. His email resulted in a readable, long-lasting and controversial discussion on the Talk-GB mailing list (threads in July and August) and comments in an OSM changeset. Nearly the same problem in Switzerland – read the following article. 😉

Miguel Sevilla Callejo (msevilla00) de Saragosse, en Espagne, est actuellement au pays de Galles. Il remarque une utilisation pas toujours cohérente de l’anglais et du gallois dans OpenStreetMap. Son courriel a donné lieu à une longue et controversée discussion sur la liste Talk-GB (juillet et août) et des commentaires dans un changeset OSM. Presque le même problème en Suisse – Lisez l’article suivant. 😉

So I went to the “Multilingual names” page and found Canada conspicuously absent. Is this because:

  1. we’re already doing it perfectly in Canada; or
  2. local mappers already know what they’re doing (an argument that seemed to be dismissed in the original discussion about Wales); or
  3. nope nope nope not touching that with a rad-hardened barge pole?

Comment from escada on 20 August 2017 at 09:32

Even if you are doing it perfectly in Canada, it would be nice to document how it is done. This would allow newcomers and data consumers understand how it is done.

Comment from Circeus on 20 August 2017 at 19:16

One thing is that Multilingual requires the locations to have actual different names in different languages, and the number of prominent places where this would come into play are so small that there is very little arguing (and since they are prominent, people are well aware of the language differences, the few I’ve checked were all appropriately tagged). Small places rarely have different names in use, so the result is that most places have the same name in both languages. Indeed, if the name tag didn’t have to bother with the feature type, (“mount”, “river” etc.), the issue would be almost nonexistent (formally, though not for OSM, Churchill RIver is considered the same in French because “Churchill” doesn’t change whether you’re talking it in French or in English).

What feature to tag with the name (e.g. with the St. Lawrence River) seems more likely to be problematic.

Comment from LogicalViolinist on 23 August 2017 at 01:35

@Circeus We do have different names in French and English, you just have to know where to look. In Ottawa/Gatineau for example: EN: MacDonald-Cartier Bridge FR: Pont Cartier-MacDonald See the difference? Some French/English feuds never die…

Comment from scruss on 23 August 2017 at 03:02

Not looking for feuds at all, James — just surprised that there’s nothing codified for OSM in Canada.

Comment from LogicalViolinist on 23 August 2017 at 10:07

If you really wanted to codify something: name is in English by default unless in Quebec, where it would be French.

And Scruss I was just pointing out how there are differences between FR and EN. French put the French explorer name first and English put the English name first

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