I've been researching different approaches to i18n in web applications and have found a lot of great resources for locale specific information like CLDR.

There is one area where I really can't find any kind of aggregated information and that is the naming of individuals and organisations. There are plenty of articles on the web that talk about the difficulties in generating simple forms for recording people's names, due to cultural differences in naming, and those articles go on to list those differences, but where are these differences recorded?

Is there some machine readable resource somewhere (like CLDR) that describes how names for people and organisations are properly formatted for their locale and other locales? What components of a name are required, ordering of components, formatting of names for formal/informal purposes etc?

1 Answer 1


There is no repository of guidelines for locale-specific formatting of proper names.

Unless you have very specific requirements to the contrary, names of people and organisations are best treated as a single component that can contain any character, including spaces, numbers and punctuation. Then every user can fill in the name in the format they are accustomed to.

  • I need a more fine grained way of storing names. For example, Japanese names can have a supplementary phonetic component of the name. Chinese names have a generational component that is only used in certain situations. This type of information would help with ordering of form fields, transliteration, etc.
    – oorst
    Apr 7, 2020 at 20:28
  • @oorst, you will need to explain why you need this fine grained way of storing names, what you are going to use it for, and then we could try to help coming up with a good way to do it. Apr 8, 2020 at 5:43

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