Commons:Language for categories

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So far it is stated that categories for the moment are kept in english. My proposal is to go with the same format as in articles, to use the local version if so desired by a majority of users involved. Should categories for all places and countries be in English, or can they be in the local version with redirects leading to it? Gryffindor 12:41, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this any different from Commons:Images on normal pages or categories:Vote? ¦ Reisio 13:26, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
I think so, because on that page we are talking about the general use of categories and articles. In this case I would like to clear the issue of which language(s) to use. The page there is so big already, I think it safe to create a separate page concerning this issue since this seems to have come up on multiple occassions. Gryffindor 13:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
It's contrary to the whole point of Commons to choose a single language. Instead of voting we should be spending our time modifying the code to make interlingual linkage more seemless and easy; no point making _another_ problem when we just need to fix the first one. ¦ Reisio 09:58, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you, but I think there are some things that need to be made more clear. Gryffindor 21:24, 4 December 2006 (UTC)


as I stated at [1] about custom at WP:de: of course, english is accepted as "lingua franca" at Commons, no de:user will be surprised finding category:Île-de-France nor category:Maps of Île-de-France, category:Maps of Sìchuān - and articles specify alternative writings, thus even category:Maps of 四川省 seems acceptable

to my opinion it works at Commons too: the article uses english with correct local names (Maps of 四川省, 孔子 and will "collect" all the language-redirects Maps of סצ'ואן, Maps of Сичуан, Confucius, Konfuzius, কনফিউশিয়াস (besides Cartes de la région Île-de-France, completely fr, which is concern to further translation-mechanisms) and will leed into "correct" usage of categories like category:Maps of 四川省 - so you can navigate thru articles in your own language to reach a certain category

the problem is, we soon will get categories about people, places, .. which have no translation to english, so we'll have an "language-changeover" somewhere inmidst a hierarchy, if we want to keep "maps of ..": we can translate 四川省 to Sìchuān, or Sichuan, but many parts of the province won't have english names

resuming, we should expect any user beeing able of basic vocabulary in english, but we should expect any user having installed UniCode-fonts and beeing willed to learn basics of foreign languages --W!B: 10:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I think that a minimum is needed: being the respect of the official local city names in the local official language. Most other names have been given during a period of war occupation or colonialisation, and are very often hardly used anymore. Within 20 years, Ypres will be hardly known. Of course, it is useful to have some parallel categories that lead to the official local name. --Foroa 14:06, 28 May 2007 (UTC)


You can't escape the fact that bad English is the most spoken language in the world and easiest for plurality. One-language policy, be it Esperanto or English, also helps to find the category. -Samulili 22:46, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Mixing languages, you can end up with things like "Buildings in Firenze" or even "Buildings in 北京". It loses the gift of predictability, which is one of the only reliable things we have about categories at the moment. Category RDRs don't work properly - this is a well known bug - so they can't be relied on. And there is no way to determine who the "majority of users" are and what their opinions are. Are they the users who put media there, or the mostly invisible users who look for it? I would say the latter, but there is basically no way to canvass their opinions. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 01:28, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
  • It would become very difficult to clean up categories in languages you don't speak.--DEU Bonn COA.svgBo-rhein-sieg 08:17, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
    its always hard to clean up in categories, one has no specific expert knowledge, regardless the language.. ;) --W!B: 03:50, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I think the proposition is incompatible with Commons Wikimedia project:
  1. It assumes that Commons users would be able to consensually determine what is the suitable language for any place in the World.
    This a dream: we don't have a reliable and forceful document for such determination and we don't have neither enough encyclopedic abilities to do the job. More, we have evidence that this determination leads to problems.
    Example: Category:Perpignan (a french city); however, though everybody speaks French in the area, some users claimed that the Category:Catalan language had to be used in Commons (Category:Perpinyà) as the native language in the area.
    This proposition would abolish a reference without replacing it , and it would obviously lead to numberous disputes. --Juiced lemon 12:53, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
  2. It assumes that you must know the native language to classify media files regarding locations. In practice, it would lead to a subdivision of the Commons project according to the native languages. This is not what I'd call an “international project”, and we could not control the project consistency and neutrality any longer. --Juiced lemon 13:05, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
  3. It doesn't resolve the important issue of mixing languages in category names. Must we transform Category:Second Battle of Ypres (casualties: more 700,000) to Category:Second Battle of Ieper (Ieper is a Flemish name for Ypres, a Belgian municipality, 35,000 inhabitants) ?
    For an efficient job, we need clear and “easy to apply” rules. The proposition would turn near every category creation in a new puzzle, and different users would resolve it in various ways, scattering the media files in duplicate categories. --Juiced lemon 13:25, 28 May 2007 (UTC)


I'm in favour of commons sense and respect.

  • name of plants and animal are and should stay in latin (international convention)
  • head-category of places SHOULD BE in the local language with a sub-category in English for international users (you'll always find someone replacing them). Show respect for the locals (main users) using "their" categories - I personally hate the change someone did from "Praha" to "Prague" - that is imperialist and hurting the sensibility of many. "Roma" should not be "Rome" and "Rio de Janeiro" not "River of January" (i'm joking, but understand, this is how it feels to file images under "Old Town, Prague" when you live in "Staré Město")
  • I vote for ENGLISH for the name of "universal" categories (for example "culture in Prague" should not be "kultura v praze" ; "Cuisine of France" and not "cuisine francaise", etc.)--Diligent 23:15, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Spelling mistake "commons sense" is cute and i leave it as such ;-) --Diligent 23:24, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I see no point in trying to force non-English speaking users to use a language that is not native to them. I think that the "Old Town, Prague" as a category should be left as "Staré Město, Praha" or something like that. And Rome can be Roma. The idea of "Buildings in Roma" or "Buildings in 北京" is not such a good idea, but certain names of buildings or names of cities themselves should be allowed to be used in the local language. If someone looks for the English names, a redirect can always lead to it. Gryffindor 21:24, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, generally I agree that places should be in local language. Just take a look at this monster Category:Three Crosses Square in Warsaw, such name makes no one knows what it is. But I think of two propositions for proper name:

This mixed version sounds strange, but I think it makes English speaking people know what is in those pictures. How do you think should it be named? Sfu 22:34, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I think the mixed system is the best, showing both respect to local "nomenclature" and commons sense --Diligent 17:07, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
I prefer Category:Three Crosses Square in Warsaw. Since the beginning of this discussion, somebody has created the matching en wp article en:Triple Cross Square, which is linked to pl:Plac Trzech Krzyży w Warszawie. In this last article, there is a link to the Commons category: Category:Three Crosses Square in Warsaw. If you don't like this link, create a gallery, and name it with the Polish native name: that's the rule stipulates.
The only problem, with the current rule, is the lack of reference when we really need a category about a subject which doesn't match a en wp article. These cases are not so frequent; we can deal with them. --Juiced lemon 15:28, 28 May 2007 (UTC)