The Meeting of the Working Group of the UNGEGN on Romanization Systems
Tallinn, October 9-10, 2006
Submitted by State Service of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre
The problem of Romanization of Ukrainian geographical names arose for the Ukrainian publishers of maps and atlases at the beginning of 1990s after the Supreme Soviet of Ukrainian SSR adopted the law "On Languages in Ukrainian SSR", in accordance with which the Ukrainian language acquired the status of the state language. This task was carried out by the Main Administration of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre at the Cabinets of Ministers of Ukraine (Ukrgeodeskartographia). Temporary Rules of Rendering of Ukrainian Names and Place Names into Roman Characters were approved by the order of the Main Administration of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre of Ukraine. The Rules had been used for the romanization of Ukrainian place names in cartographic editions meant for the international use. At the same time the issue of the state standard approval arose. The Institute of the Ukrainian Language of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was given the task of working out of the draft of the state standard on the Rules of Rendering of Ukrainian Names and Place Names into Roman Characters. The prepared draft did not meet the conditions put forward by the State Standard of Ukraine. This body adopted a resolution on making alterations in the currently in force Standard 16876-71 on the Rules of Transliteration of Cyrillic Characters into Latin Characters, which is coordinated with the international standard ISO 9 Information and Documentation - Transliteration of Cyrillic Characters into Latin Characters - Slavic and Non-Slavic Languages. The alterations had been done in accordance with the suggestions of scholars belonging to different scientific schools of Ukraine: the National Academy of Sciences and the High School.
The Ukrainian Commission for Legal Terminology in its turn approved the Normative Table designed to recreate of Ukrainian proper Names in the English language and the Rules of its use on April 19, 1996. The ministries that were concerned with this issue: the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Main Administration of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre, the National Council on Geographical Names worked out the unified approach to the application of the Table in the process of issuing official documents in English, namely, foreign, service and diplomatic passports, international agreements, cartographic editions, travel and commodity regulatory documents, etc. The Table and the Rules in question were published in the newspaper "Uriadovyi Kur'ier" and up to this date are the most widely used in official papers, cartography, education and mass media normative documents.
Throughout the years when Ukrainian Romanization table adopted in 1996 was used, general geographic and administrative maps of the country and its regions had been published, as well as the plans of the best known and visited by tourists cities. In the course of the last three years a general geographic map and an administrative map of Ukraine with the scale 1:500 000, city plans of Kyiv, Sevastopol', Truskavets', Yalta, L'viv, Odesa, and also tourist maps of Ukraine, the Crimea and the Carpathians had been published, in which geographical names had been rendered with the help of Ukrainian romanization system.
The Normative Table designed to recreate of Ukrainian proper Names in the English language and the Rules of its were submitted for consideration of the international community at the 18th Session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names in Geneva in 1996. During the 23nd Session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names in Vienna in 2006 at the meeting of the Working Group on Romanization Systems Ukrainian delegation made an oral report about the use of Ukrainian romanization system in this country.
During the period of use of Ukrainian romanization system in different spheres of state activities there appeared notes and suggestions on its improvement. They mostly concerned the problems that arose in regard to the use of the following 12 characters of Ukrainian alphabet: г, ж, й, х, ц, ч, ш, щ, ї, є, ю, я. The Convenor Working Group on Romanization Systems G. Quinting introduced a motion in July 1997 concerning the rendering of the character щ. We should note here, that in the process of application of the above-mentioned romanization system most of the problems we face concern the rendering of the characters ч, ш, щ, because the combinations of Roman characters, used for the rendering of these letters, render other, different sounds in some languages (e.g. German, French, etc.), for example:
|Ukrainian character||According to the Table||German||French|
Every suggestion was studied and discussed, and many of them were found reasonable. However, the characters in question have been widely used in practice, and that is why we made a decision not to change the Normative Table, and to supply the maps, published for foreigners (e.g. German, French, etc.), on which geographical names are presented in Ukrainian romanization system, with explanatory tables. The same practice exists in Russia and Belorus' as well.
As a result of the adoption of the Law of Ukraine "On Geographical Names" the issues of Ukrainian romanization system again attracted the attention of the Government of Ukraine. On the instructions of the Cabinet of Ministers the Ministry of Justice considered the issue of the application of the rules of romanization of Ukrainian place names and proper names.
According to the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On Geographical Names" the executive body specifically authorized to deal with the issues regarding geographical names, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine, approves the rules of romanization of Ukrainian place names and proper names. The State Service of Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre as a state administrative body subordinated to the Ministry of Environmental Protection is to carry out the coordination and implementation of tasks regarding geographical names.
The Interdepartmental Scientific and Methodological Council on Geographical Names (further referred to as the Council) was founded for carrying out of the provisions of the above-mentioned Law by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of April 19, 2006 № 543. One of the Council's tasks is to consider scientific and methodological documents regarding the romanization of Ukrainian place names. The Council includes representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Transport, of the National Academy of Sciences, of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On the instructions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine an outline of events aimed at the insurance of the implementation of the rules of romanization of Ukrainian place names and proper names. At present the Ministry of Justice is considering the reports presented by the ministries and establishments of the country on the implementation of Ukrainian romanization system, their new suggestions and notes to the Rules in force at present. The Rules in force are scheduled to be considered by the Council as a project of the State Standard. The project of the State Standard will be put forward for the consideration and approval of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine before December 1, 2006.
The maps published in Roman characters in Ukraine in 2004-2006