Wikipedia:Naming conventions

Very often, articles are about people or things with names in a language other than English. This page explains how to name such articles.

Special characters for different sounds and pronunciation change

Special characters are sometimes used in languages other than English. These special characters may be there to describe sounds of that specific language. They can also be there to help pronunciation. For example, Spanish uses diacritics to put stress on a certain part of a word, and to do a few other things. In Spanish writing, words that are stressed differently usually need accent marks to show where they are stressed. In English, such marks are often picked up from the foreign language, but not always.

There are also ideas like the International Phonetic Alphabet, that have been created to help people correctly pronounce and stress words from any language in the world.

Problems entering characters change

Many people will have problems entering special characters. Special characters need to be composed on many keyboards. This means that several keys need to be pressed to get the character. This is of course not as fast and easy as just pressing one key.

For some special characters, there are replacements. For example, the German letter ö can also be written as oe, ü can be written as ue, ä can be written as ae and ß can be written as sz or ss. Not all languages' special characters have such replacements. For this reason, redirects should be made from all other forms and spellings of the word, to the actual article name.

General concepts change

As a general guideline, the most common name used in English should be used to name an article on the Simple English Wikipedia. With places, this is often the same as the name in the place's native language, but not always. A good way to guess what form is used most often in English is by using the tools at advanced search. For names without many mentions on the internet, doing this may not always give the right answer, so some common sense is needed.

When a place has more than one name, the English form of the name used most often today, if there is one, should be used. English names that are not in more common usage today should not be used. For example, Ivory Coast is an English translation of Côte d'Ivoire. Côte d'Ivoire is seen quite often, but evidence has shown that Ivory Coast is nowadays used more often in English than the other term.

For another example, the German city known in German as Köln can be found here at its most common English name, Cologne. There is a redirect from Köln to Cologne. The Polish city Szczecin has a redirect from its German name, Stettin, because this is also a commonly seen form of the name, but not as common in today's English as Szczecin.

Non-Latin alphabets: use (scientific) transliterations change

Some languages use alphabets other than the Latin one. Examples of such are the Cyrillic alphabet, or the Chinese or Arabic language characters. For such languages, there is usually at least one rule for how to write them with Latin characters. This is called transliteration.

This should be done to explain foreign characters in the first sentence of the article, but it will not always be the name of the article, especially if the place has an English-language name that is easier to use. For example, the capital of the People's Republic of China can be found at Beijing, which happens to be the same as the pinyin transliteration of the Chinese name. But the capital of Russia can be found at its usual English name Moscow, rather than the transliteration of the Russian one (Moskva).

Redirects change

Redirects should always be from the less common name to the more common one used in English.

Helping people pronounce change

If the pronunciation of a place is different to what a native English speaker expects, pronunciation help should be provided in the article's first sentence, not in the article title. This can either be with phonetic transliteration, or by giving a sound-sample of how the name is pronounced. Note that sound files, like all files, should be uploaded to our sister project, Wikimedia Commons.

Providing the correct name change

  • If the article is not under its correct name in the native language(s) of the region, this name should be explained in the beginning of the article.
  • There should be redirects for all names (or spelling variants) mentioned in the article, leading to the place where the article actually is.
  • If there are two or more articles that share the same or similar titles, this is handled by making one of them a disambiguation page, explained more fully at Wikipedia:Disambiguation. The other articles will then often have extra words in parentheses added to the title to help tell them apart.