I have suggested an edit but it was rejected.

  1. @Kate Gregory rejected it because I should "use English names for all cities or none".

    Nuremberg is the english name of Nürnberg, but there is no english names for Fürth and Stein. But I agree with the suggestion to "retain the original name at least one place in the post, maybe in brackets"

  2. @Andra means, we should use the native names of the cities

I strongly disagree with this view. I think it's ok to use both - in that case Nuremberg (Nürnberg) once and than only the English name. We ask our question in English, not in the native language of the country we want to visit so I think we should use the English names of the cities. Especially when it's not in Latin (北京 or София)

4 Answers 4


I agree with you.

Since the only language of posts on Travel-SE is English, it makes sense to require a name written using the Roman alphabet, and optionally the name in the native script of the location.

All SE users by definition recognize Roman alphabet, and can likely transliterate the most commonly used diacritics. Other scripts are more tricky. To prove my point: try to pronounce and transliterate this name: ВарНа. I'm fairly certain most will get it wrong.

Additionally, some proper names have alternative names in English and their native language: København, Köln, Geneva/Genève/Genf/Ginevra and your example Nürnberg, to name but a few. In these cases, the English pronunciation makes more sense, and optionally the original name can be provided.

To summarize:

  • Roman names for which normal transliteration rules apply (or when the English name and the original name differ only by accents and diacritics -- thanks @KateGregory) should be written either with their English name, or the original name.
  • Roman names which are written differently in English than in their original language should use the English name, or both the English and the original name. In the interest of searchability, providing both at least once in the post should be recommended.
  • Non-Roman names must be written in English, and optionally providing the original name.
  • Varna isn't hard to pronounce. I hitchhiked through there twice last year. It's not spelled in CamelCase though d-; Feb 8, 2013 at 15:14
  • @hippietrail: it's not hard to pronounce per se, it's hard to pronounce correctly and be understood for a person accustomed only to Roman alphabet. This was the first name that came to mind, and admittedly not the best example, though capitalized BAPHA should also be common enough :) Feb 8, 2013 at 15:36

We should primarily use English names.

However, in cases where the English name is not that commonly used (Genoa/Genova or indeed Nuremberg/Nürnberg), I think it's understandable and acceptable that questions using the local name appear. In such cases:

  • Edit to include both names once in the question body or title: Nuremberg (Nürnberg).
  • If the English name is very well established (e.g Rome), edit to only use the English name.
  • Beyond that, I'd leave it to the discretion of the post author. It doesn't add much value to go changing every instance of a city name to English.

The main point is to get everyone on the same page about what city is being talked about, so that the question can be answered. No need to get too pedantic.

Tags, on the other hand, should always use the English name, and there should be a synonym with the native name. Lots of important synonyms are currently missing (for example -> and -> ); I've been meaning to bring it up on meta, but haven't yet.

  • While thinking about this I also found a bug/design flaw in the tag synonym system. I can't suggest Zürich as a synonym to Zurich since the system thinks it is the same tag. Feb 5, 2013 at 23:01
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    Ah, yes, only latin letters can be used in tag names; no umlauts etc. That's a limitation, but not necessarily a "bug" in my opinion. So for Zürich no synonym needed. Same for e.g. Malmö whose tag would be malmo.
    – Jonik
    Feb 5, 2013 at 23:07
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    However, the correct synonym should then be Zuerich. Feb 5, 2013 at 23:23
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    @RoflcoptrException: The rules such as ü -> ue are German rules as in Duden, the official body charged with correct usage of the German language. English has no such rule and very few English speakers are aware of Duden. There is also no body to make rules about English so it's hard to say what's "officially" right or wrong, but it certainly seems that the overwhelmingly most common thing to do is simply drop all diacritical marks and similar which are not included in the 26 unadorned letters of the English alphabet or on English keyboards. Feb 6, 2013 at 12:13

When I rejected the edit it was not because I am against using the English name, but the native name is just as valid. Especially on a travel QA site, I would expect someone interested in a specific place to be familiar with the native name.

Using the English name as tag makes total sense, but let's allow both native and English place names in the body of the question.


Wikivoyage at one point claims that the English name most commonly used for Fürth is Fuerth, although they too believe and decided in the end that it should be called Fürth.

  • @kate-gregory - maybe you have a different suggestion?
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 5, 2013 at 15:51
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    The German ä, ö, and ü may be spelled out as ae, oe, and ue. As this form is correct in standard German, it is not quite analogous, say, to arguing for Aland as an alternative to Åland, as the former would be misspelled in Swedish.
    – choster
    Feb 5, 2013 at 22:39
  • I agree with @Jonik - use the English name for well established cities or when the name is the same in both languages except for accents and diacritics. When it's spelled differently in the native language add it once in brackets after the first appearance. This will help searchers. Feb 6, 2013 at 20:35

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