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Guidelines for Transliteration of Chinese

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  • Post Date: 02/03/2012

A.  The Guidelines are set up to establish a unified system for users to follow so as to avoid confusion in transliterating Chinese characters. 

B.  Hanyu Pinyin is the system that has been officially adopted for the romanization of Chinese, unless otherwise regulated.

C.  Transliteration of names of places, streets, and roads shall be based upon the regulations governing standard romanization of place names and promulgated by the Ministry of the Interior.

D.  The Principles of romanizing Chinese personal names are as follows:

    1.   Romanization of Chinese Names

    a.   The surname comes before the given name without a comma in between. Only initials of the names are capitalized; the rest of the letters are all lower-cased and written without a space in between. For example, the name 陳志明 is romanized as "Chen Zhiming."  If the second character of a transliterated given name begins with a, o, or e, an apostrophe is inserted to distinguish the second character from the first.

    b.   Double-character surnames are transliterated according to the above-mentioned principles. For instance, the name 歐陽義夫 in Pinyin is "Ouyang Yifu."

    c.   When a woman uses her husband's surname as hers, the surname and her maiden name are written together but separated by a hyphen. The rest are transliterated in the way as mentioned in the above. For example, 林王美華 is romanized as "Lin-Wang Meihua."

    2.   Transliteration of names used in passports shall be in accordance with the Enforcement Rules of the Passport Act promulgated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Citizens are encouraged to use Hanyu Pinyin for their names in passports or household registration transcripts.

    3.   In romanizing personal names, the choice of the concerned party shall override the above-mentioned principles.

E.     Guidelines for writing postal addresses are as follows:

    1.   First line: name of a person, store, company, and so on. For instance, Chen Zhi-ming.

    2.   Second line: residence number followed by (if any) the number of an alley, lane, or section of a road, and the name of a street or road. For example, 55, Ln 77, Sec. 2, Jinshan S. Rd.

    3.   Third line: name of a township (if any), followed by that of a county or city and its zip code. For example, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County 36745.

    4.   Fourth line: name of country as in "Taiwan (R.O.C.)"

F.  The following chart indicates the standard translation of Chinese address terms into English.

Chinese English Abbrev. Chinese English Abbrev.
City Number No.
County Floor F
鄉鎮 Township Room Rm.
District Dist. East E.
村(里) Village Vil. 西 West W.
Neighborhood South S.
Road Rd. North N.
Street St. First 1st
大道 Boulevard Blvd. Second 2nd
Section Sec. Third 3rd
Lane Ln. Fourth 4th
Alley Aly. Fifth 5th

G.  In overseas Chinese teaching, if a phonetic system is to be used other than the Zhuyin Fuhao, then Hanyu Pinyin shall be adopted.

H.  Transliteration of Other Chinese names or terms shall be based upon Hanyu Pinyin, except some special terms or those which have been accepted internationally or have been in use by convention such as names of the Chinese dynasties, names of certain places, terms of customs and traditions, and terms of culture.

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