On 2017-09-24 23:01, Matthijs Melissen wrote:
Hi all,

I would like to ask for your opinion on the choice of language used in
the Default map on openstreetmap.org.

This map (based on the openstreetmap-carto style) currently displays
all labels in their native language (as defined in the 'name' tag).
For example, we have a label 北京市 for Beijing, a label موريتانيا for
Mauritania, and a label Magyarország for Hungary.

The openstreetmap-carto team quite frequently receives requests to
(additionally) display labels in English (or in any case the
Latin-alphabet). The people making these requests state that the map
is currently not very usable for an international audience, as many
people are not able to read labels in for example Arabic or Mandarin.
Some areas where this problem is particularly visible:

And vice versa: I always wonder how usable a map in Latin alphabet is for Chinese or Russian speakers.

From an ideologic viewpoint, I am very much in favour of not giving
preferential treatment to any particular language. Using the local

No, of course there should not be a "we're going to do all latin" move. But having the map like this and saying "we only put local alphabet on the map" is just as much an ideologic viewpoint. You are excluding people who do not know the alphabet from using the map. I for one have long been annoyed by the inability for me to find places in countries such as China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and others I'm not remembering. Sure, I can use nominatim and the place will be pointed out to me but then I can not read at all what it says. I think that in all these years of OSM this could and should have been picked up and discussed long ago, but apparently everyone in control of the map seems to have the opinion of "local language or bust".

But the issue is also not that simple. I, as a dutch person, do not want to see all places in their Dutch translation. There are translations ranging from quite common to very obscure that I'm sure are in OSM but that I generally do not want to see (Maagdenburg, Brunswijk, Daveren). I also do not want the English translations, I'm also not keen on seeing names like Brussels or Munich. So the option would be to give maps in different alphabets and not have the names translated. Then again, what is the "non-translated name" of Russian or Chinese cities. Is it the English name? Does every place have a proper transliterated name?

I think the technical solution is easy: like Eduardo says, make a map with a base layer as the map and and overlay with place names.

But to put this point out: for me, Google does it much better than OSM.


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