Romanization of Chinese
At the heart of DramaWiki is its search engine. For the search engine to function at its best for the majority of the illiterate Chinese readers, all text must be searchable using common Roman characters that can be found on any given keyboard.
DramaWiki has a stance on the romanization of Chinese text, which differs from other wikis, such as Wikipedia. Wikipedia, for example, focuses on precise accuracy of its information, which is really important when producing an encyclopedia-like service. DramaWiki, however, places its focus on the ease of searching for information. The guidelines DramaWiki use when romanizing Chinese text are that:
- the words and phrases, including proper nouns, be entered using a spelling arrangement that is most common among Chinese drama fans.
- the Latin-based characters used can be entered using any computer keyboard, including non-PC keyboards and operating systems.
- the words and phrases can be queried using a variety of Internet-based search engines using their default interfaces and settings.
Guidelines on romanization of Chinese
- Whenever possible, use the official or most common English name as the article title instead. If unavailable, use the official romanization of the article as its title. If all else fails, use Hanyu Pinyin (with the tone marks removed).
- Search the article's official page, or any other official sources for any official romanization.
- It is best to include the Hanyu Pinyin romanization in any article as it will usually be the romanization technique used when the official romanization or its English language title is unclear.
- In general, if romanization is used for article titles, capitalize the first letter of each Hanzi romanized character and leave a space between each romanized word (for example, 高圆圆 would be romanized Gao Yuan Yuan).
Romanization methods in use
Hanyu Pinyin was approved in 1958 and adopted in 1979 by the government of the People's Republic of China. Since then, all other romanization systems in the PRC have been superseded by Hanyu Pinyin. Romanization of China drama and cast names are relatively straight-forward as all would be governed by the Hanyu Pinyin system.
Unfortunately, this is not usually the case for non-mainland Chinese dramas and artistes, although information can still be found using Hanyu Pinyin.
A consistent Cantonese romanization system of Chinese is in place in Hong Kong (See Hong Kong Government Cantonese Romanisation). Most drama and artiste names, when romanized, will probably be romanized using this standard. Many will probably also have English language names as well.
Many Singapore Chinese dramas have an English language title, and romanizations of drama titles, if done, are usually done in Hanyu Pinyin. Artistes, however, may have their names romanized in a myriad of ways (See Chinese language romanisation in Singapore) depending on their dialect group. Often times, the surname of the artists are romanized based on a Chinese dialect other than Mandarin, while the first and middle names are romanized using Hanyu Pinyin.
Taiwan has three romanization standards in use today. Tongyong Pinyin, the official romanization standard adopted by the National Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 2000 and Wade-Giles, which is the de-facto standard particularly for individuals' names. Tongyong Pinyin was never popular, as it was more of a political position adopted to oppose mainland China's standardization. However, on September 17, 2008, the Ministry of Education announced that the government standard for romanization will be switched to Hanyu Pinyin (the standard on mainland China) nationwide, effective January 1, 2009. Individuals will retain the choice of what spellings to use for their names.
Unfortunately, usage of romanizations of personal names by the Taiwanese has been idiosyncratic. In fact, most Taiwanese themselves do not know any of the three systems aside from their own personal names. Apart from artiste and place names, though even an artiste's romanized name may be hard to find, it is rare that either romanization will be used to romanize drama names.
Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters
This section explains the usage of simplified and traditional Chinese characters, or Hanzi(汉字/漢字), in Dramawiki. For information on the history of Chinese character simplification, please see Wikipedia's Simplified Chinese character article.
The Government of the People's Republic of China simplified Hanzi in an attempt to promote literacy and its character reform has also been adopted in Singapore and Malaysia. However, due to varying circumstances, simplification was not introduced in other places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.
As such, Simplified Hanzi will be preferred for articles relating to China and Singapore dramas and casts, while Traditional is preferred for articles relating to Hong Kong and Taiwan dramas and casts. If information of the article is available in both character sets, place the officially used character set first.