names of cities in various languages

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WinstonSmith
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names of cities in various languages

Post by WinstonSmith » Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:09 pm

Hi!
I've noticed that, although most of the names of cities are kept in the original language, some of them are translated according to the language you are using. (e.g. Nürnberg always appears as Nürnberg, while Frankfurt appears with its name in the language of the user).
I guess the work of updating every city profile with the different translations is just not really handy, and I was wondering about ways to help those behind the website to spare at least some of their time with that.
For example: as for me, I'd have no problem making a list whatsoever of cities which lack their translation in Italian and Esperanto - it's just that I don't know whether it would be appreciated. If such a list can be useful, it would be great to know the best way it can be done (e.g. if it should contain reference to the city profile number, or its original name, or whatever), and then we could work about it in national forums, so that everyone can contribute and in the end we'll give the developers team only the full list with (hopefully) *each* and *every* name which needs a translation. It would still require lots of work from the developers, but not as much, because they'll be given all the information which is needed in one time. :S
Is this feasible?

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Post by Nerzhul » Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:12 pm

Not feasible. At least not for now.

We integrated some (very very few) well known, big, relevant cities into our Babel system. The way this translation tool works is totally infeasible for tens of thousands of translatable strings, not only from the usability (usage of the tool) but also the technical standpoint (export of translated text).

At some point when I have either more time or everything more important is developed for EBT I might come up with a solution. Until then there isn't much we can do.
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Post by WinstonSmith » Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:29 pm

We integrated some (very very few) well known, big, relevant cities into our Babel system. The way this translation tool works is totally infeasible [...]
Okay, I didn't get how it works at all - I thought the translations were somehow encoded in the city profiles themselves (since they are "fixed" and don't need to be edited or updated at any time), and didn't think they were available through the Babel system. :D

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Post by Jes » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:28 pm

Few days ago, my friend invited me to visit Germany and he said "I live near München" and I thought "I don't know any city with that name... maybe... it is a small city..."

But few days ago I knew that it is the city wich we (spanish people) know as MUNICH wich is a BIG city!!! 8O
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Post by nickx » Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:49 am

Munich is of course English name for München. Slovenian name also existed - Monakovo, but is not used anymore.

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Post by JP Simões » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:04 am

"Monaco", in Italian, stands for both the city of Munich and the principality.
Could prove confusing from time to time.
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Post by WinstonSmith » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:23 pm

That's why you'll often hear it called 'Monaco di Baviera'. :wink:

A similar case is the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, which in Italian is called Ragusa - same name as a Sicilian city. If the context is not self-explaining, you'll hear Dubrovnik being called 'Ragusa di Dalmazia' (I never heard 'Ragusa di Croazia' up to now), while the one in Sicily remains simply 'Ragusa' (I only saw 'Ragusa di Sicilia' in documents dating back to the beginning of the 20th century).

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Post by Beatminister » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:01 pm

I think its a bad habit from the old days to translate city names or give them aliases, that only can lead to a lot of confusion. And causes lots of unwanted extra work, as we see it here for the EBT site admins.

Dear Italians, to call München "Monaco" is really a great idea - so what do you call Monaco (the state)? :)

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Post by Dakkus » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:16 pm

Beatminister wrote:I think its a bad habit from the old days to translate city names or give them aliases, that only can lead to a lot of confusion. And causes lots of unwanted extra work, as we see it here for the EBT site admins.

Dear Italians, to call München "Monaco" is really a great idea - so what do you call Monaco (the state)? :)
In situations where it wouldn't be clear, they call München/Munich "Monaco di Baviera". The tiny country is apparently always just Monaco.
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Post by nickx » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:03 pm

Another strange example is Wien. English name Vienna is quite comprehensible, but Slovenian name for Wien is Dunaj (maybe it comes from Danube somehow), while Croatian and serbian name is Beć, which I have no idea where it comes from.

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Post by Beatminister » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:13 pm

Dakkus wrote:In situations where it wouldn't be clear...
Well, thats a solid definition... ;)
But I know of course that it works somehow (well, who knows - perhaps some Pizza restaurant owners in München think they live at the Cote Azur?), and we do the same in german, like saying "Mailand" for Milano or Kapstadt for Cape Town. Old bad habits... :)

But sometimes such names can even create hard feelings:
I was using Google Earth the other day and noticed, that they use the old german names for towns in Poland, like Breslau, Gleiwitz ect. These names were changed in 1945, and the polish are very particular with that.
I thought then: oh dear, if one of the Kazcinski brothers sees that we are in the shit again... :)

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Post by Dakkus » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:40 pm

Beatminister wrote:
Dakkus wrote:In situations where it wouldn't be clear...
Well, thats a solid definition... ;)
But I know of course that it works somehow (well, who knows - perhaps some Pizza restaurant owners in München think they live at the Cote Azur?), and we do the same in german, like saying "Mailand" for Milano or Kapstadt for Cape Town. Old bad habits... :)

But sometimes such names can even create hard feelings:
I was using Google Earth the other day and noticed, that they use the old german names for towns in Poland, like Breslau, Gleiwitz ect. These names were changed in 1945, and the polish are very particular with that.
I thought then: oh dear, if one of the Kazcinski brothers sees that we are in the shit again... :)
Google Earth only does that if you are using it in German language. And for what I know, the cities have had their German names since the time the Germans wiped the original Prussians from Poland. Cynically, one could say that since no Prussians were left a while after the invasion, there's nobody who could be hurt by the German names.
(To mention, Prussian language was a Baltic language, not a Slavic or Germanic one.)
The city names are translated to German because they were German territory for a while already in the 19th century. The city names are translated and I think it's quite OK.

In a few days I am going to a city called Berliini. I am going to fly to Saksa, but I could also have first taken a ferry to Tukholma (the capital of Ruotsi) or Tallinna (the capital of Viro) and then take a bus from either of them. On that way I could have visited Riika and Varsova or I could have visited Kööpenhamina by doing a small detour on the route through Tukholma.
While in Germany I might also go through the city of Hampuri. This time I am not going to visit Lyypekki, however.
It is a shame that we have no guests from Lontoo (in Iso-Brtitannia) or Rooma, but at least we do have some from Brysseli, don't we?

Oh, and of course I could also have decided to go to Saksa through Ruotsi without using any ferries at all. Then I would have gone through Haaparanta and Luulaja, why not also visitin Kiiruna while around there?

And did you know that the second biggest city in Venäjä is called Pietari and that the capital of that respective country is known as Moskova?

What's so bad in translating place names? They are part of history and trying to censor or alter history leads into nothing good. They also show to the next generations, what their history is. The next generations will find out that in the era of swords and shields Germany reached all the way to Königsberg and Dorpat.
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Post by hoppa » Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:45 pm

Dakkus wrote:

What's so bad in translating place names?
You should ask a truckdruver that question. A while ago I was driving towards the E313 which is a highway that starts in Leuven and leads all the way trough Belgium and the Netherlands to Germany. Just before the entry is a sign that says that this is the way to Hasselt, Heerlen and Aken.
I was halted by an East-European truck driver who had a map and pointed to Aachen. The man really didn't know which way he had to go until I explained him that Aachen is the same as Aken.

Same thing I had when we went on vacation in Croatia. On the return I wanted to drive trough Triest in Italy but even close to the border there are no signs for Triest: only for Trst.

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Post by Dakkus » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:05 pm

The resolution to that would be to write the city names in more different languages, like they actually often do. Since the locals call the city Aachen, the signs really should say Aken - Aachen and not just Aken.
But that is indeed stupidity of the people who design the signs, not that of the people who each speak their own languages.

I have actually had a similar problem with Luttich/Luik. The city has a third name that is more used than the two other names, but when I was asking road to there, the people in Aachen had problems understanding what I was talking about. Does anyone happen to know what that third name is?-)
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Post by Beatminister » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:45 pm

Dakkus wrote:What's so bad in translating place names? They are part of history...
The bad thing is that nobody knows whats going on. ;)
Correct, the roots are in the past - in a time when 99% of the population never came further than 20km from their home town, never mind foreign countries. But that has changed a lot.

Yes, its a german version of Google Earth. The problem with the german names for now polish cities is not that old - as you may know Germans were kind of, ehm... unpopular for a while. ;)

Generally, a name should not and doesnt need to be translated. Whats the sense of it? If someone tells me his name is John, I dont call him Johann either. ;)

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