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Names are very clear, there is "name", and "name:en" for the English version. But what about addresses? It's important when searching for the English version of an address that it returns the same result as a search in the local language.

So for example, in Mongolia a given address might be in the city of улаанбаатар/Ulaanbaatar. Is it appropriate to use: addr:city=улаанбаатар and addr:city:en=Ulaanbaatar or is there some other format that should be used?

asked 11 May '14, 03:40

SverreG's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 12 May '14, 11:46

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


I'm not that experienced with multilang approaches and data internationalization, but IMHO due to the heavy redundance (city name in every address within the city) and so a bad to maintain dataset, it's wise just to translate the name of the city at it's place node / boundary relation. Then it's up to the tools to be clever enough to understand this alternative name, too and we avoid heavy inconsistence because there is one in 10.000 Address nodes that has a wrong EN name :)

(11 May '14, 08:37) iii

So for example, talking about

Currently searching for Zochin, "Залуучуудын өргөн чөлөө, улаанбаатар" returns the correct result, but searching for "Zochin, Youth Avenue, Ulaanbaatar" returns no results.

Is there anything I (as an English speaking OSM contributor who happens to be in Mongolia at the moment) can do to fix this problem?

(12 May '14, 06:50) SverreG

@SverreG Write a front-end for Nominatim that translates "Youth Avenue, Ulaanbaatar" to "Залуучуудын өргөн чөлөө, улаанбаатар" perhaps? It might be worth talking to people who've done work in and around Nominatim what they currently do or plan to in this area. Perhaps on #osm-dev on IRC on the dev mailing list?

(12 May '14, 11:28) SomeoneElse ♦

Localized names should always be put on the road, place or boundary, they refer to. The search engine can take it from there. What happens in Nominatim is that the addr:* tag is used only as a link to find the appropriate road or place object that make up the address. Once all objects are found, it builds the final display address from the name tags of these objects, localized as necessary.

So, in the case of "Залуучуудын өргөн чөлөө", it would be enough to add name:en=Youth Avenue to this street. A word of warning about translations though: Localized name tags like name:en should be added only, if such a translation is in common use, e.g. by local people or by foreign visitors. That is rarely the case for street names unless the country has more than one official language. If "Youth Avenue" is just a word-by-word translation of the Mongolian name that nobody ever uses, it shouldn't be included in OSM.

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answered 12 May '14, 16:28

lonvia's gravatar image

accept rate: 40%


Thank you for the advice. I am currently working in an office near that street, and my Mongolian coworkers advise me that it is, in English, called both Youth Avenue (Залуучуудын өргөн чөлөө) but is also often referred to as Sambuu Street (Самбуугийн гудамж) which is what Google Maps shows it as. I've added a name:en tag, an alt_name tag, and an alt_name:en tag to the street.

I will try searching once indexes have had a chance to update and let you know.

(13 May '14, 04:39) SverreG

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question asked: 11 May '14, 03:40

question was seen: 5,243 times

last updated: 13 May '14, 04:39

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