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Opened 8 years ago

Closed 7 years ago

#6148 closed enhancement (wontfix)

Internationalization of personal names

Reported by: aradams Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Severity: normal Version:
Component: I18N Keywords: personal names, internationalization, cultural bias
Focuses: Cc:


(Please excuse if this ticket lacks technical details. I am not a developer, merely an interested user.)

WordPress currently allows users to register using the fields "first name" and "last name." These terms, and the limitation of only two fields, do not allow for the differences in naming conventions worldwide. The assumptions made by WP's design not only affect its use in its base English-language version, but also hampers localization efforts.

Richard Ishida http://rishida.net/blog/?p=100 says:

"People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies in English-speaking countries are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users."


"If you do still feel you need to ask for constituent parts of a name separately, try to avoid using the labels ‘first name’ and ‘last name’, since these can be confusing for people who normally write their family name followed by given names."

Matthew Sachs also writes on this subject here: http://zevils.com/2007/12/28/internationalization-of-names/

One possible approach to internationalization of personal names might be something like this:

-- Allow for multiple name fields in user registration

-- Remove culturally-specific labels like "first name" and "last name"

-- Use the existing "display name publicly as" dropdown list to allow the user to specify the proper phrasing of his/her name

-- Allow user name sorting flexibility. Currently author lists are sorted by first name, alphabetically, which is incorrect for English and many European names. Adding a "sort name by" dropdown list would allow for more flexible sorting of names within such applications as wp_list_authors.

Change History (3)

#1 @ninjaWR
8 years ago

For the first approach: what other name fields could be asked for? First, Last, and Nickname are already there, and there is also the user name, which is specified when registering (the others need to be filled in after logging in).

For the third approach: current choices (assuming each of the name fields is filled in) are 'Username', 'Nickname', 'First', 'First Last', and 'Last First'. Any suggestions for other methods that can be talked about?

For the second appraoch: 'First Name', 'Last Name', 'Nickname', and 'Display name publicly as' all use _e(), so they are translatable if someone takes the time to to so. See Translating WordPress and WordPress in Your Language for more details on that.

The fourth approach might be better in its own ticket, since it doesn't deal strictly with i18n.

#2 @aradams
8 years ago

Rather than reinvent the wheel, might we look to the hcard Microformat for ways to handle name structures? Specifically, using the n, fn, nickname, and sort-string properties:

n type:

<span class="n">
 <span class="honorific-prefix">Mr.</span>
 <span class="given-name">John</span>
 <span class="additional-name">Quinlan</span>
 <span class="family-name">Public</span>, 
 <span class="honorific-suffix">Esq.</span>

fn type:

<span class="fn">Mr. John Q. Public, Esq.</span>

nickname type:

<span class="nickname">Jim</span>, 
<span class="nickname">Jimmie</span>

sort-string type:

<span class="fn n">
 <span class="additional-name">Robert</span>
 <span class="family-name sort-string">Pau</span>
 <span class="given-name">Shou Chang</span>

I disagree that name sorting doesn't relate to i18n; one can find abundant examples of confusion arising due to cultural differences in the ways people are named. For example, with my full name: Adrienne Rice Adams. My "first" name is my given name, my "middle" name is my "maiden" name, and my "last" name is my father's family name. I live in the US, and when people find out that I kept my maiden name they want to hyphenate it so: Rice-Adams. In that case my name would sort by "R" -- but I go by Adams, so I want to be sorted by "A." In the UK, compound last names are often not hyphenated, so in the UK I could be Adrienne Rice Adams (sorted R) OR Adrienne Rice Adams (sorted A). No one but I know how to properly sort my last name, so why not ask me?

Same thing with nicknames and display names. Some people go by a nickname that has no relation to their "family" or "given" names. Some people change their name informally but not legally. In some countries the legal name is different from the everyday name. In all cases, one could easily err in assuming which names are "first," "last," the order in which they should display, and which name should be used as the sort key. Flexibility is essential.

#3 @pishmishy
7 years ago

  • Milestone 2.6 deleted
  • Resolution set to wontfix
  • Status changed from new to closed

A colleague of mine spent a lot of time working on an international standard that included name fields. He felt that the best compromise you could come up with was "given name" and "family name" but even that won't come close to satisfying everyone. I can't think of a flexible6

I'm pretty sure that everything you want can either be done through the existing translation mechanisms (which aren't at all difficult for a non-technical user to get to grips with) or through the use of a plugins and themes. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be difficult to simplify down to a single field if that's what you wanted.

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