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Proposal for romanization of names of Chinese/HK actors and actresses for the database
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DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
United States Posts: 1,328
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This is an attempt to bring some accuracy and consistency to names of non-western actors and actress to the DVDP community. The problems inherent with converting non-western names to western centric program such as DVDP are that the alphabets and conventions are vastly different. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names are written using unique Asian characters and cannot easily be input into current version of the program due to absence of unicode support. Even if the program was fully unicode compliant, you would not neccessarily want to solely input Asian names in their native characters, because they would be unreadable to any one who is unfamiliar with the language.

Problems with Chinese/HK actor/actress' names are even more complex than Korean or Japanese counterparts.  Hong Kong has long been an Asian movie factory. In addition, most Hong Kong movies were intended for the entire Asian market and in many cases, the world market.  As such, many HK movie stars are truly international stars which brings with it, many difficulties with names.

1. Chinese is one written language but with many spoken dialects. The two main dialects which concern us are Mandarin, official spoken dialect of China and Taiwan, and Cantonese, commonly spoken dialect in Hong Kong and many Chinatowns in America.  Perhaps the biggest problem is that these two dialects sound nothing alike. Because we can't input written Chinese into the program (and even if you could), we need a common romanization of phoenetic representation of these names.  Unfortunately, most Hong Kong actors and mainland Chinese actors who started out in Hong Kong film industry use Cantonese pronunciation of their names. Most mainland Chinese and Taiwanese actors use Mandarin pronunciation of their names. Some use both, depending on whether their movie is Hong Kong produced, Taiwan produced, or Mainland Chinese produced. Even more baffling is that when their is English romanization of names on credits, it can be a mixture of English names, Cantonese romanization of Chinese names, or Mandarin romanization of Chinese names.

2. Many actors/actress from Hong Kong (and to lesser degree from mainland China and Taiwan) use English names in addition to their Chinese names. Some better known names might be Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, or Michelle Yeoh. But these are names mainly for non-Asian fans and they are better known throughout Asia by their Chinese names such as Sing Lung (Jackie Chan); Li, Lian-jie (Jet Li); Yen, Ji-dan (Donnie Yen); or Yeoh, Chu-kheng (Michelle Yeoh). To accomodate fans from both Asian and non-Asian markets, HK actors/actress use a peculiar naming convention. Those with English names write their names, English name/Surname/Chinese name (ie. Jet Li Lian-jie). This is so that their name sounds natural to both western audience (Jet Li) and to Asian audience (Li Lian-jie).

3. Not all HK/Chinese actors/actresses have English names. Some of more famous actors/actresses without English names are Chow, Yun-fat; Gong, Li and Zhang, Zi-yi. Again, some are Cantonese and others Mandarin romanizations.

4. Many HK/Chinese actors/actresses use pseudonyms or have gone through many, many, many names throughout their career. Michelle Yeoh was known ealy as Michelle Khan. Sometimes, the names were owned by studios, or sometimes they took on new names that sounded similar to popular local or international stars almost at a whim. Furthermore, credits on many HK/Chinese movies were, contrary to some people on this forum, often far from accurate and as specified in their acting contract. They were incomplete and full of mistakes and typos.

Given all these issues, it's not going to be easy to compile a list of names for the master name database for these HK/Chinese actors/actresses. However, I propose the following set of guidelines for determining names of HK/Chinese/Taiwanese actors/actresses for the master name database.

1. Names of will include both Chinese name and English name whenever available

2. Romanization of Chinese names will follow whichever name the actor/actress is best known by. This will typically be Cantonese for HK movie actors/actress and Mandarin for Chinese/Taiwanese actors/actress but may be variable and subjected to debate on the forum. Two syllable names will be separated by a hyphen(-) with the first letter of the second syllable not capitalized.

3. Surname will be parsed into Last Name field

4. Chinese given name will be parsed into First Name field. (Given that not all actors/actresses have English names, this seems to be most consistent method of parsing names)

5. English name whenever available will be parsed into Middle Name field.

6. Common sense should prevail and intent of these rules should be used to interpret ambiguous names. Names that are still ambiguous can be brought up on the forum and debated as needed.

Some examples might be (in Last name/First Name/Middle Name format)

Li/Lian-jie/Jet
Zhao/Wei/Vicky
Chow/Yun-fat/
Gong/Li/
Chan/Sing-lung/Jackie
Yeoh/Chu-kheng/Michelle
Zhang/Zi-yi/

This is much more variable then Korean actors/actress' names. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Thank you for reading.
My Home Theater
 Last edited: by xradman
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantnuoyaxin
prev. known as ya_shin
Registered: March 13, 2007
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Taiwan, Province of China Posts: 3,423
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I'll have to read through the details again tomorrow...

My question is: is your list with examples at the bottom meant as possible Master Names or just to show what the "complete" names are?

Also, while not mentioned in the text (or I just didn't notice...), but present in your example list, I'd definetely agree with always using a dash for the Chinese given name(s).

Maybe I should check the old Asian names thread in the IVS forum, we had a few ideas collected there already...

Cool, this thread got pinned within 16 minutes ot its creation.
Achim [諾亞信; Ya-Shin//Nuo], a German in Taiwan.
Registered: May 29, 2000 (at InterVocative)
 Last edited: by nuoyaxin
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
United States Posts: 1,328
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Quoting ya_shin:
Quote:
I'll have to read through the details again tomorrow...

My question is: is your list with examples at the bottom meant as possible Master Names or just to show what the "complete" names are?

Also, while not mentioned in the text (or I just didn't notice...), but present in your example list, I'd definetely agree with always using a dash for the Chinese given name(s).

Maybe I should check the old Asian names thread in the IVS forum, we had a few ideas collected there already...

Cool, this thread got pinned within 16 minutes ot its creation.


This is for the master name database. The cast credit should follow "as credited" guideline if provided romanized name does not match the name in the master database.

Example

Credit reads Jet Li
Cast credit should be input as Jet Li with "as credited option"
This would be linked to Li/Jian-lie/Jet in the master name database.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited RegistrantStar Contributorsugarjoe
Registered: March 15, 2007
Germany Posts: 374
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Quoting xradman:
Quote:

3. Not all HK/Chinese actors/actresses have English names. Some of more famous actors/actresses without English names are Chow, Yun-fat; Gong Li; and Zhang, Zi-yi. Some of them are almost always credited Surname Given name (Chow, Yun-fat and Zhang, Zi-yi) whereas others are almost always credited Given name Surname (Gong Li). Again, some are Cantonese and others Mandarin romanizations.


Just for the record:

The name is Gong Li, with Gong being the Surname (last name) and Li being the given name (first name).

And while I can follow you with most of the points being made I am not so certain about 5. and the usage of the English names. For me that would be a typical example for 'as credited' and not for the master data base, since you say correctly they have chosen to be credited in this way to attract a larger audience.
 Last edited: by sugarjoe
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
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Thank you for the correction (#3 corrected per given information). Most of the English names are for HK actors/actresses and I am not sure what the official status of their English names are.  If you know, I would love to learn more.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited RegistrantStar ContributorWinston Smith
Don't be discommodious
Registered: March 13, 2007
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This departs from As Credited, xradman and treats Asian actors as a separate and special entity. The same thing can be achieved by remaining with As Credited, as you see it On Screen and using the Credited AS alias system. In short

Yun Fat Chow (Credited as Chow Yun Fat).

Your objective is achieved and requires no special treatment.

Skip
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Billy Video
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
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They are special because of the reasons I outlined and in vast majority of movies they appear in, there is no English alphabets on the screen to indicate their names. Chow, Yun-fat is an exception, not the norm for an Asian actor.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited RegistrantStar ContributorWinston Smith
Don't be discommodious
Registered: March 13, 2007
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They should NOT be treated different because of ANY cultural prefernce. As I said it can be handled quite adequately through the new Alias system. Your method causews a total departure in As Credited and the data winds up not looking like it does On Screen. As I have said before this not about treating ANY culture any differently, and now that we have the alias your proposal is in absolutev defiance of the most basic of Rules and you are wanting your culture treated differntly from the way the data is displayed because it is YOUR culture, sorry xradman, I couldn't buy it before and especially with the Alias system, I rEALLY don't buy it now. Use the Alias system.

Skip
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Billy Video
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
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Skip, this has nothing to do with cultural norm. Please take your ranting elsewhere. Title clearly states what this is about. This is about systemic method to romanize Asian characters in Asian names into English alphabets. This does not destroy "as credited" system as the proposal clearly specifies that if English credits are available, to use the name "as credited" option.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
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Skip,

In case you're confused, this is NOT about the CREDITED name. This is about the name to be used for the master name database for Asian actors.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited RegistrantStar ContributorWinston Smith
Don't be discommodious
Registered: March 13, 2007
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Thanks for that last, that is where my confusion was, xradman.

Skip
ASSUME NOTHING!!!!!!
CBE, MBE, MoA and proud of it.
Outta here

Billy Video
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
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Your welcome.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
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Someone brought up the need for documentations for romanizing Asian names. I think it's impractical for the following reasons. I've attached my response to that person.

Quote:
It would be like asking someone to document master name variation of Cuba Gooding, Jr. vs. Cuba Gooding Jr. or asking to prove that his name really isn't Gooding Cuba.  It's whatever romanization rule we decide on just as it is with Western names and variations in punctuations.  I've outlined my romanization proposals for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names in Contribution Rules subforum. If we decide that's what the community wants, that will be the documentations.

For example, according to the proposed romanization rule, Chow Yun Fat will be listed in the master name database as (Chow/Yun-fat/ - Last Name/First Name/Middle Name). As you know you can display the names in your program as First - Middle - Last or Last - First - Middle by setting appropriate preference in your program. So if someone comes along and decides that it should be Fat Yun Chow, he is going to have to prove how that name follows the rules, and not the other way around. 

Finally remember that it's not cast credits. That will be "as credited" as best as we can. When romanized credits are present, as in most western movies, cast credit will be credited exactly as on screen. When there is no romanized credits present, as in most Asian movies, they will be credited using the master name we decide on (since we have no way of listing credits using non-western alphabets).
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
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I posted this in the rules committee subforum, but for those of you that do not have access to that forum, here it is.

Quote:
For those of you who are still not clear as to what this is all about, I have attached screen shots of some credits in Asian films. Please note that there are no English or roman alphabets anywhere on the screen.

This is from Japanese movie Azumi (2003)


This is from Hong Kong movie The Five Venoms (1978)


and This is from Korean movie Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)


I welcome anyone who wants to credit these "as credited" or just enter it using the current credit rules to tell us exactly how we should go about doing it.
My Home Theater
DVD Profiler Desktop and Mobile RegistrantGraveworm
Registered: April 7, 2007
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Why are we equating last and surname/family name? That is not the same. I agree with everything you say about family names and given names and if that was the field names you'd be right but in many Asian cultures the first name is the family name. If you want the fields to be family and given then lobby for that to be changed.

Most asian people in the west do exactly that and live their life with the family name first. Which is lucky for us given the small number of Chinese family names for 1 billion people. Each of the top 3 familynames in China would number higher than the population of Russia, and Kim in Korea is going to be a good percentage.

If these actors have appeared in a release with Romanised names then one of those should be chosen as a master for completeness and because it appears the actor has chosen to go that route and their wishes should be respected in my opinion.

As for Romanising names which only appear in Chinese Characters that's part of what my wife does as for a living (Cantonese and Mandarin) there are not that many Chinese names because of the limited number of characters so 99% have already standardised English spellings depending on Cantonese or Mandarin origin. The big problem is Hong Kong names have 5 regional variations so you not only need to know they come from Hong Kong but which part.

The names you show for the 5 venoms are actually mostly mainland Chinese despite it being a Hong Kong Film. Chinese names often mean something, especially stage names, so have to be presented in the correct order. For example the first name in the example you have given Tu Lung - Buchering the dragon. Now if this was parsed the other way round it would make no sense. 

Tu Lung
Sun Shu Pei
Lui Huang Shi(h) for some parts of Hong Kong
Lin Hui Huang
Wang Qing He
Shen Lao
Wang Han Chen


For Korean/Japanese you are on your own but at least Jpanese have an alphabet of sorts so it can be easier.

If it is First Middle and Last then that's the way it should be.
DVD Profiler Unlimited Registrantxradman
Registered: June 17, 2002
Registered: March 14, 2007
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Quoting Graveworm:
Quote:
Why are we equating last and surname/family name? That is not the same. I agree with everything you say about family names and given names and if that was the field names you'd be right but in many Asian cultures the first name is the family name. If you want the fields to be family and given then lobby for that to be changed.
If it is First Middle and Last then that's the way it should be.

I think most Asians would say that in their culture, they write their last names first rather than saying their first name is their surname.

Also the definition of last name in English dictionary is surname or family name. With the last version of DVDP, there was some ambiguity to the name field, because it stated only first, middle, last leading some members to argue that it was just a position indicator. Now there is no ambiguity since the fields are labeled first name, middle name, and last name.

Finally there is an option in the program to display names in Last, First and Middle order. Presumably if you are from countries where names are displayed in this fashion, you would choose this display order for your names. Then there is no transposition of names or meaning for Asian names.
My Home Theater
 Last edited: by xradman
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