How do you spell it - Yilan or Ilan?

I am helping a friend edit the English subtitles for a local documentary.

What would the New York Times use today: “Ilan” or “Yilan”?

A google search seems to establish that the most common spelling is “Ilan.”

The Ilan city council has changed the official English spelling of the city name to “Yilan,” according to a phone conversation with them.

An authority must exist who can just say one or the other, which one is correct in English writing.

Yilan is the correct hanyu pinyin spelling. Anything else is non-standard, Wade-Giles, Yale, or one of a dozen different spelling systems, or just made up on the spot.

[quote]An authority must exist who can just say one or the other, which one is correct in English writing.[/quote]That would be Cranky Laowai, hopefully he agrees with me.

This might not sound too helpful, but if you want to know, you should search the New York Times. Newspapers and magazines usually use style guides as to which to use in their publication. Publications may vary, and standards change over time eg Peking -> Beijing :idunno:

Also, just because something is ‘correct’, does not always mean it is in general usage in the English-language world, like (I believe) Taipei should actually be “Taibei” in hanyu pinyin, but would get odd looks from many readers if spelled like that in English newspapers.

Yes, and it comes in a little black plastic ball. You shake it, look into a window, and then a sign appears bearing the answer you seek.

The NY Times seemed to have no problem using craptacular romanisation during the last election (Taipei instead of Taibei or T’aipei, Lien Chan instead of Lian Zhan). But I doubt that the senior editors are aware of the intricate and silly issues behind romanising Chinese names.

In Yilan county, it seemed to be written as Ilan on probably 60% or so of things, notably any official government stuff (like my overstay stamp!), but I think most of the street signs said Yilan.

I personally think that Ilan is revolting to the eye, but it’s probably the “official” version, so your friend should go with that.

I’m not expert on this, but I think the last statement I quoted from you is the main thing to remember. Whether or not the capital city of this island should be spelled “Taibei” (according to Hanyu) or “Taipei” (according to something else) is a moot point. Whether the issues behind romanization in Taiwan are silly and intricate doesn’t matter either. For so long, internationally, it has been spelled “Taipei.” Therefore, in most context (unless you are writing it personally) it should be “Taipei.”

The same is true for people’s names. From what I understand, for a long time Taiwanese were able to choose the romanization of their name on their passports. (Am I wrong in that?) That is why you can often have two people with the same family names who romanize it differently. But, continuing my point from above, whether you like the system they used to romanize their name (that is, if they were aware of a particular system at the time) or not, you should continue to romanize it the way they do.

Otherwise it would be like me always spelling someone’s name “Geoffery,” because I think that is the “more appropriate” spelling, rather than the way they actually spell it… let’s say “Jeffery.”

If it is the accepted/official spelling, whether you like it or not, use it.

Just my NT$2. Besides, I hate using romanization of all types, even the international standard Hanyu. I think they all can be utterly confusing. Why is the first sound in the word for “meal” (i.e., I’ll have meal #1) romanized as a “c” in Hanyu? “ts” would make more sense as it is closer to the sound? “tsan” rather than “can.” I always want to pronounce it “kan” when I see it. And, anyway, most Taiwanese don’t know it, so good luck finding out how to pronounce a new character/word from your friendly neighborhood Taiwanese using pinyin. I’d rather use bo-po-mo-fo. But, I digress… as I know romanization is needed for the non-Chinese speaking/reading public.

[quote=“Big Fluffy Matthew”]Yilan is the correct hanyu pinyin spelling. Anything else is non-standard, Wade-Giles, Yale, or one of a dozen different spelling systems, or just made up on the spot.

Ah, Fluffy, you’re so sweet.

The whole notion of “standard” is tricky here, of course. But in the case of this particluar place the answer is easy: Yilan, not Ilan or any other spelling.

Yilan is the government’s official spelling for the name of the city and county. It is also spelled the same in Hanyu Pinyin and Tongyong Pinyin.

Even if you find a different spelling in the New York Times, use Yilan. Trust me on this. I know what I’m talking about.

alidarbac:

But his name isn’t Lian Zhan. It’s a person’s name. You can’t alter the way a person spells his name. Take Yu Shyi-kun for example. That is the way he has asked that it be spelled. Was the basketball player Anfernee Hardaway’s mother on crack when she named him or just illiterate? Shall we spell it Anthony?
And isn’t the convention Taipei?

I agree with wuf.

Thank you Grichahard M. Shpock.

Wolf wrote

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:
I once taught an adult student called “Anfernee”.who had named himself after Hardaway (despite being about 5-foot nothing). :astonished: He was planning to do an MBA in England. With my usual Kiwi tact I suggested that he change his name or grow a big afro. :wink:

Anfernee isn’t an approximation of Anthony. It’s its own name.

If 連戰 insists on people writing it as Lien Chan, then good for him. I guess you could get into some ontological argument about how his name isn’t Lien Chan, it’s 連戰 just like my name is Wayne, not 'wAn.

Why should I recognize these “English” names? It’s not like the local FAP recognized the Chinese name that I’ve tried to adopt. My Chinese professor in the States gave me a Chinese name 高偉恩 that I tried to get on my ARC. They rejected it since I’m not ethnically Chinese and hence couldn’t have a Chinese surname (or at least that’s what I was told). They put 韋恩 instead. Not that it has any material effect on my life, but I was annoyed nonetheless.

I’ll admit that I’m not 100% consistent with using hanyu pinyin myself. I’ll insist on writing Taibei and Gaoxiong, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to write Cai Mingliang or Song Chuyu.

[quote=“alidarbac”] They rejected it since I’m not ethnically Chinese and hence couldn’t have a Chinese surname (or at least that’s what I was told). They put 韋恩 instead. Not that it has any material effect on my life, but I was annoyed nonetheless.
[/quote]

If you used 柯韋恩 or 卡韋恩 you wouldn’t have a problem with having a surname in Chinese. I have one.

For most of the people in Taiwan the romanization of their Chinese name is on their passport, whether it is a “correct” romanization or not. Am I wrong in saying this? So, in a sense, it is legal and/or the official romanization for that person.

As for your own Chinese name… I’m not sure why you had trouble. I had no trouble having my Chinese name added to my ARC, using it for a bank account, etc… In fact, my previous employer used it, instead of my English name, most of the time – i.e., for paychecks and such. And, I am not ethnically Chinese either.

it’s ILAN

As a Yilan person. I usually write Yilan. Ilan looks like a Russian name in my opinion.

Anyways if the audience knows anything about Ilan or Yilan they would figure it out. If they don’t then it would have made no difference to them.

PS - why does the text “Ilan” automatically comes up as “Ilan (Yilan)”. This is linguistic homogeny. :smiley:

PPS- I can’t even get the PS to read properly with this crazy pingying filter.

FWIW, although Yilan may be the better romanisation, the more common one is still Ilan (Yilan). I class that romanisation up with Tamshui (Danshui), Taipei, and Kaohsiung (Gaoxiong) as the preferred option for English texts. They may not be the best ones, they may not even be correct according to the system they’re apparently romanised in, but they’re the more prevalent ones.

PS: MWAHAHAHA take THAT censor! I WIN!

Almost… :laughing: :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

The Hand of God!

Almost… :laughing: :wink: :p[/quote]

Hehe, you crafty little sod :raspberry: