Working Group on Romanization Systems

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Consistent use of accurate place names is an essential element of effective communication worldwide and supports socio-economic development, conservation and national infrastructure. That is why the United Nations established a Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN). UNGEGN promotes consistent use of accurate place names and prepares documents for the United Nations Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names that are held every five years. For more information on the activities of UNGEGN see the links below or refer to the UNGEGN brochure.

Working groups are established by UNGEGN to deal with specific tasks, such as training courses in toponymy, toponymic data files and gazetteers, toponymic terminology, country names, publicity and funding, and romanization systems.

Terms of reference

The basic mandate of the Working Group consists of considering and reaching agreement on a romanization system for geographic names proposed by a (donor) country. The process of adoption of such a system by the United Nations involves the following prerequisites:

  1. There needs to be sufficient time for appropriate consultations and an expression of all views on technical matters between the sponsoring country and the working group members. Thus active participation and input of the potential users of the new romanization systems are assured.
  2. Specifically, the group considers whether the romanization system is based on sound scientific principles, the system's degree of reversibility, and the extent of its implementation on cartographic products (maps and charts) by the proposing country.
  3. Finally, the new system is referred to the next U.N. Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names in form of a resolution which, in turn, is voted by the Conference. When the resolution is adopted, the subject romanization system becomes the United Nations standard.

(G. Quinting, UNGEGN Newsletter No. 17, May 1996)

Report on the Current Status of United Nations Romanization Systems for Geographical Names

See also an important note on links and report versions.

Romanization systems

Language/script Version Date PDF HTML Notes
Languages/scripts covered by systems recommended by the United Nations (30):
Amharic 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Arabic 5.0 2018-06-09 pdf html  
Assamese 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Belarusian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Bengali 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Bulgarian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Chinese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Greek 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Gujarati 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Hebrew 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Hindi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Kannada 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Khmer 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Macedonian Cyrillic 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Malayalam 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Marathi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Mongolian (in China) 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Nepali 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Oriya 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Persian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Punjabi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Russian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Serbian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Tamil 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Telugu 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Thai 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Tibetan 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Uighur 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Ukrainian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Urdu 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Other languages/scripts (15):
Armenian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Burmese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Dzongkha 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Georgian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  
Japanese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Kazakh 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Kirghiz 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Korean 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Lao 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf html  
Maldivian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Mongolian (Cyrillic) 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Pashto 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Sinhalese 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Tajik 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf html  
Tigrinya 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf html  

For a more complete listing see a special subpage.


See a special subpage.

Other documents

For a more complete listing see a special subpage.

Links to other UNGEGN sites

Other links on romanization

Composition of the working group

See a special subpage.

Opened: 2000-04-14
Updated: 2018-06-08