[Mediawiki-i18n] Fwd: Internationalisation of people names

Federico Leva (Nemo) nemowiki at gmail.com
Fri Sep 18 14:09:13 UTC 2015

Given the recent discussions on how to deal with person names in 
Wikidata (e.g. how many properties to use, how to handle scripts, 
automatic vs. manual labels/aliases/descriptions...) and the importance 
username display has in MediaWiki (e.g. gendered namespaces, log system 
restructure since 1.19, ...), it may be useful for someone to read this 
thesis and summarise it to our benefit. :)


«If a system does not possess the ability to capture, store, and 
retrieve people names, according to their cultural requirements, it is 
less likely to be acceptable on the international market. 
Internationalisation of people names could reduce the probability of a 
person’s name being lost in a system, avoiding frustration, saving time, 
and possibly money. This study attempts to determine the extent to which 
the human name can be internationalised, based upon published 
anthroponymic data for 148 locales, by categorising them into eleven 
distinctly autonomous parts: definite article, common title, honorific 
title, nickname, by-name, particle, forename, patronymic or matronymic, 
surname, community name, and generational marker. This paper provides an 
evaluation of the effectiveness of internationalising people names; 
examining the challenges of terminology conflicts, the impact of 
subjectivity whilst pigeonholing personyms, and the consequences of 
decisions made. It has demonstrated that the cultural variety of human 
names can be expressed with the Locale Data Mark-up Language for 74% of 
the world’s countries. This study, which spans 1,919 anthroponymic 
syntactic structures, has also established, through the use of a unique 
form of encoding, that the extent to which the human name can be 
internationalised is 96.31% of the data published by Plassard (1996) and 
Interpol (2006). Software developers, localisation engineers, and 
database administrators may benefit from this paper, through recognition 
of this problem and understanding the potential gains from accurately 
handling people names within a system. The outcome of this study opens 
up opportunities for future research into cultural name mapping that may 
further enhance the Common Locale Data Repository.»

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