East-Asian name order

+10 votes
I am pretty soon going to have to add some Chinese and Japanese profiles to a one place study I am pursuing. I am concerned about the name order issue with these cultures (family name first, given name second). How are we supposed to deal with this? Zedong Mao or Enlai Zhou or Xiaoping Deng, I suppose, would sound wrong to most readers, yet that is what Wikitree makes them.
asked in Policy and Style by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (442k points)
Great question! I look forward to the answer.

1 Answer

+4 votes
I would say they should still be put in the fields that make sense, even if the display won't make sense. The reason is that WikiTree uses surname fields very differently from given name fields. We want the surname indexes to list people who share a family name.

That being said, my hope is that we could develop some sort of alternate name display for profiles that have these types of names, which would show the "last" name followed by the "first" name. These kinds of decisions are up to Chris.
answered by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (417k points)
Agreed. We have to keep the family name in the proper field (Last Name in the English localization), even though it's not the culturally correct order. I could see a checkbox for "Display Family Name First" being awfully handy in these situations.
Having adopted Mao Zedung's profile and now realizing it needs to be merged with a duplicate profile, the issue is back up.  We already have a "data-entry" field -- what you see when you click on edit -- and a different "display field" -- what you see on profiles modified by their privacy settings -- it should not be too difficult from an IT perspective to have an alternate display field for East Asian names.  The edit field wouldn't need to change at all except to have a line to check, "Display surname in East Asian order" or something, and then the display field would do that.  It would save all sorts of heartburn.  Chris?

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