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Hello! There are several regions in Europe and elsewhere, which are officially bilingual, so that there are official names for places, streets etc in two languages (eg Lusatia, South Tyrol, Brittany, Wales, Scotland). Is there any possibility to represent that fact in OSM maps? Of course I can add different names for different languages, but how about showing them in the correct way, that is both of them at once?

Thanks, Julian

asked 02 May '13, 22:22

J%20budissin's gravatar image

J budissin
accept rate: 0%

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answered 02 May '13, 22:25

gnurk's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

Sorry, but that is no answer on the question. My question was, whether there is a possibility to show both names without changing the "name"-tag. So to speak, is it possible to display two different name:cc-tags at the same time?

Thanks, Julian

(09 May '13, 15:55) J budissin

Well, J, that's something you can configure your renderer to grab. name:* exists for exactly this custom rendering situation. Use that.

(09 May '14, 23:43) Baloo Uriza

If it's in the OSM data, you can make a map that displays any name you like. Here, for example, is an example map that displays Ireland with Irish placenames.

The tricky bit is knowing that "in place X the names to display are languages Y and Z, in that order". Many places don't have "official" languages (most of the UK is an example of that) and even some places that do (e.g. Finland) aren't bilingual in the normal sense.

Regardless of how you define it, I suspect that one way forward might be to do a one-off transformation of the data that you're loading into the database that you're displaying from (and similarly to any applied change files). It's probably easier than trying to do the same thing with style sheets (although I'd welcome someone to prove me wrong on that). You'd need to write some code though.

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answered 09 May '13, 16:10

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
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... and for info describes the "some code" that is needed.

(14 Mar '18, 01:09) SomeoneElse ♦

In Belgium, a trilingual country, in some places we have bilingual street names. What do we do: under the name tag we put both names separated with a dash ('-'). Furthermore we use name:fr and name:nl to put the respective French and Dutch names. See e.g.

This is something that was agreed upon by the Belgian community. Other countries might have different conventions.

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answered 02 May '14, 06:14

escada's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

This is an old question that was answered ages ago. See above.

(02 May '14, 08:03) SimonPoole ♦

You should only be using the most commonly used or prominent name in name=. Other languages should be in name:=* instead. If you want more than one name rendered, fix the renderer, don't game the data.

(09 May '14, 23:44) Baloo Uriza

There is no prominent name. All street name signs have both names ! see Don' dare to say that the French name is more important than the Dutch name, because it's on top, it's just that the French street names have "Rue" in the beginning, while in Dutch "straat" comes at the end (very convenient by the way). This is a very sensitive topic for a lot of people in Belgium, so having both names in the name tag is the only acceptable way to map.

(10 May '14, 06:06) escada

for additional mapping fun: some of those streets are on the border between two villages and hence, have 4 official names :-)

(10 May '14, 08:31) escada

Agree with escada conserning the situation in Finland. The Finnish and the Swedish names are equal and there is no "prominent" name. The authorities use both and so do road signs

(11 Mar '18, 11:03) GKe

In terms of name use by people in Finland there most definitely is a prominent name (and it'll be a different language in the centre of Helsinki compared to out west in the Åland Islands). Both names are written on signs though.

(11 Mar '18, 11:41) SomeoneElse ♦
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

See the OSM wiki about Map_internationalization ... there is a link to a we map service about Thailand and other countries on ... ask the author.

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answered 09 May '13, 17:00

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

This seems to automaticly solve this problem.

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answered 05 May '14, 16:38

Govanus's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

No longer useful because "" is no more.

(14 Aug '17, 20:25) SomeoneElse ♦

I started to add russian from soviet sources into Oxford (still early days). I think the default name tags should be carrying a sutible default that can be used without futher worry. Custom mapping options can then use the language choices encoded to offer select forms as mentioned above. To aid the process I always put the local form in as both the default and also as an encoded langauge choice: ie in Oxford in Britain I would probably have the default as it was writain on signage and the a english option listed seprately in a different tag then a russian one. galic could be done the same? see official advice fr the latest see above.

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answered 01 May '14, 22:04

Govanus's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%


I wouldn't add non-local-language names for a place when there's no evidence that the non-local name is ever used, except as a transliteration of the original. The relevant section of the wiki is here:

However, the original question was about bilingual areas, where multiple names are in use - there of course it makes sense to add all those names that are used locally.

(02 May '14, 01:29) SomeoneElse ♦

This an old question that was answered ages ago. While there are quite legit reasons to re-open, a new answer that is trying to open a discussion is not one (given that this is not a discussion site).

(02 May '14, 08:05) SimonPoole ♦

sorry, I didn't look at the date, it was just near near the top of the messages this morning

(02 May '14, 10:40) escada

Ithinking to delete this in favor of the later.

(05 May '14, 16:36) Govanus

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question asked: 02 May '13, 22:22

question was seen: 6,856 times

last updated: 14 Mar '18, 01:09

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum