Alias type for transliterated legal names

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On this edit @nedotepa and I are talking about what is the right alias type for the transliterated name of a Russian composer. We don’t really have any guidelines about this unless I’m forgetting something.

There’s very little doubt to me that “Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович” should be listed as a legal name for Shostakovich. It was, after all, almost certainly the actual name in his legal documents. It’s much less clear to me though what should be done with other aliases such as “Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich” (English) and “Dmitri Dmitrievitch Chostakovitch” (French).

In my opinion those aren’t actually legal names, unless he officially registered as a citizen of a different country and had that name on his paperwork (for Shostakovich specifically, he very likely did not). It’s also super weird IMO for the overview to claim “Legal name: Dmitri Dmitrievitch Chostakovitch, Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, Dmitriy Dmitrievich Shostakovich, Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович” - those are not all equally “legal-namey”.

At the same time, @nedotepa is right that “artist name” (the name the artist usually performs under) is also not appropriate, since the patronymic Dmitriyevich/Dmitrievitch is almost never used when crediting Shostakovich in the West, and “search hint” suggests this is an error of some sort, but it clearly isn’t.

What would you people do with a case like this? Do we need a separate alias type for “legal name, but not quite”? (for an example of another situation that we should cover with a decision like this, the official Latvian name for Paul McCartney is “Pols Makartnijs”, but I doubt that should be set as his “Latvian legal name”).


“Localised name” would make sense as an alias type. I wouldn’t call them in any way official, but we can already set an alias as “primary” for a locale.

“Pols Makartnijs” is probably not what you’d call Paul McCartney’s “official” Latvian name, but rather a generally(?) used localisation, as I doubt there is a Latvian institute officially registering these spellings (only the French would be crazy enough to have such an institute).


It’s complicated :slight_smile:


I’d say that a person may have “legal names” in different languages. Soviet administration knew our composer as “Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович” but if he ever went to France his name in the French visa would be “Dmitri Dmitrievitch Chostakovitch”. So, yes, that’s his “legal name” in French.

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IF they had legal name in France, it would be their legal name.
Otherwise, it can be just an artist name, for instance.

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So, you suggest the criterion of actuality (as opposed to potentiality). Does this mean that “Chostakovitch” written by the French authorities on some document only once would qualify that name for “legal”? Or you’d expect something more permanent , e.g. an ID card, a passport, or a birth certificate?

“Artist name” is the name by which the person is known for his art. Foreign audiences will hardly relate art with the creator’s transliterated legal name. For example, Russians know Lady Gaga as “Леди Гага” not as “Стефани Джоанн Анджелина Джерманотта”.

How about:
Official name is any demonstrated officially documented form of the Artist’s name.

Localised name is any non-official demonstrated transliterated form of Artist’s name.

We could leave “demonstrated” out but limiting the list of transliterated names to those actually used seems beneficial as the number of possible transliterations between all languages seems large.

Sorry I think I raised useless difficulties, after reading only the last post of the topic.

@nedotepa’s edit looks fine to me. It is the artist’s legal name written in French.

I expect to be able to see which name is the original one – or possibly original ones in case of dual nationality.

I think so. It should be clear that the new type isn’t to be used for other artist names so I’d change Mfmeulenbelt’s suggestion to “Localized legal name”.

If we were designing a new system, grouping different localizations of one name would make sense. Currently if an artist has multiple names and therefore multiple localizations
for those names, it starts to look really messy and correlating one localization to another becomes hard.


“Localised Legal Name” seems sensible to me, but one also has to think about how it will be used by people accessing the database. Or how does Picard pick a correct “name”?

  • “Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович” - Official and Russian Localised
  • “Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich” - English Localised
  • “Dmitri Dmitrievitch Chostakovitch” - French Localised

With the three above examples, what data is returned when a request for “German Localised” is made? Will it default to the European text? Or the Russian? I can see many Europeans wanting to see the name in a character set they recognise.

Release have that “Script” type, is it also needed here?

Similar question - which text is returned when database is asked for “Japanese Localised”?

I realise I have no answer, just questions… :thinking:

Is it possible to create relationships between aliases? Here’s what I propose:

We can have a legal name (meaning in official documents, not transliterations of it) and its transliterations connected using a relationship. This means that a new type of alias, transliteration/transliteration of, will be created.

ISO does have a standard for romanizations, but it is limited to only a few types and non-romanization transliterations are not included. I’d imagine that transliterations will not have language codes, but transliteration codes (this needs to be created ourselves; there are no standards AFAIK).

By the same standard, artist names are limited to an artist’s credits in a work/release/event. Transliteration of artist names should also use alias type “transliteration”.

This creates a hierarchy of aliases, and it makes more sense semantically than having a bunch of unorganized aliases.

Related ticket:


I should have guessed there would be a ticket… :roll_eyes:


There is always a ticket. :wink:


Any system will need to be able to handle multiple localised official names. (As multiple transliterations from native languages/scripts are often possible and also a new localised transliteration can be formed from an intermediate transliteration of the original name.)