[STYLE-975] Guideline for language and script of entities' names

Ticket: https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/STYLE-975
More discussion: edit #50368284
I would have thought this was already in the guidelines somewhere, but apparently it isn’t. For as long as I can remember it’s been consensus that entities’ names be stored in their native language and script. However, there is still a school of thought that we should use Latin script for entity names and have other script names in the alias field, akin to what other databases (e.g. Discogs and VGMdb) do. Has there ever been any formal discussion on this before?


Funny, I thought this would be mentioned in Style/Artist, but it isn’t.

It has been standard procedure to have the main artist name in the native script/language and only the sort name in Latin script for as long as I remember. And that would logically extend to other entities.

MBS-972 would help prevent “the chaos of different scripts” (even though I think that’s a bit of a non-issue anyway, I would really like this ticket implemented).


I think we should not blindly use names in the artist’s native language and script, because in some places (where multiple languages are used in daily life) some artists prefer to be credited or known under unofficial but de facto languages.

I propose the name determination should go like this:

  1. Use the most commonly used artist credit.
  2. If it is unclear what is the artist’s most commonly used credit, then use their artist name in native language/script.
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Regarding the sort field: Doesn’t this deprive people of the ability to actually sort by last name?

In an ideal world the script and locale would be in my User Profile, and if I set it to Greek, then every thing is in Greek, if I set it to English then I get latin script. I realize that is probably quite a bit of work so I’m not holding my breath on that one.

But can you imagine opening an encyclopedia where the index is using every writing system in the world, willy-nilly? It would be pretty hard to look something up.

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… most commonly used AC… in the home country of the artist.

Please make a case for why a Russian born composer who has done most of their work, and is best known for that work, in the USA, with a latinized name, is better presented in MB in Cyrillic.

If it is the situation that we need some hard edged criterion and that “home country” is the best available then I can live with that.

But can you present any other arguments?

EDIT: I think Freso (below) has pretty much dealt with the “Russian-born, American living, latinised composer” case by citing “artist intent”.


Artist intent overrules all other guidelines, so this is a non-issue.

Eventually (a medium/long-term goal), aliases should replace the current name/sort name pairs, and aliases are tied to language (there is a ticket for tying it to script too, so you can have e.g., Japanese aliases in both Latin and Kanji), so if you set to Greek, you get the Greek name and also Greek sort name, but if you set it to Norwegian, you would get the default/generic alias/sort name (or Norwegian name/sort name if available!).