Wikivoyage:Foreign words

Use italics to delineate foreign words that have not been adopted in English. Don't use any formatting or punctuation to delimit words that have been adopted in English.


  • Do italicize
    • arrondissement
    • tuk tuk
    • khong
  • But do not italicize:
    • kung fu
    • haggis
    • hotel
    • Latin abbreviations such as "etc.", "e.g.", or "i.e."



To note the foreign-language translation of a word, list it in parentheses right after the English name, with the name of the language, followed by a colon, then the foreign language name in italics. If the language does not use the Latin script, give the local script (no italics) followed by the correct transliteration (in italics). Some examples:

  • The subway (French: Métro) is very convenient.
  • A tasty Japanese treat is grilled eel (うなぎ unagi).

Alternately, you can use the foreign language word in italics, and provide the English translation in parentheses afterwards, as in:

  • The Rathaus (city hall) is in the center of town.
  • In Thailand, Western-style black tea is known as chaa ron (ชาร้อน, "tea hot").

If there's just no translation for a foreign word, or the word has been explained already, just use it without a translation.

Proper names


For Wikivoyage, we prefer to use the most common English-language name for people, places, and things. However, it's often useful to point out the local-language name for a place or thing in an article, since travelers will often encounter those names. As with other foreign words, list the foreign-language name for a place or thing in parentheses after the English name:

  • Mexico City (Spanish: Ciudad de México)
  • Basque (Basque: Euskara)
  • Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul)
  • New Brunswick (French: Nouveau-Brunswick)

If the foreign language uses a foreign script, include an italicized transliteration within the parentheses:

  • Penza Oblast (Russian: Пензенская область Penzenskaya oblast')

If there's more than one language you want to give the name in, put them all in the same set of parentheses, separated by a comma.

Avoid listing the names of places in every single language under the sun. It's usually only helpful to English-speaking travelers to know the local language name. Yes, it's possible that some travelers may need to know how to say and write "Oslo" in Tigrinya or Quechua, but the chances are diminishingly small, and it would clutter up the destination pages to add those names in.

Once the language has been specified, you do not need to repeat it later in the article.


See also: WV:spelling

For foreign words that have entered the English language, use the English spelling as appropriate for the destination. For all other words, use the locally preferred spelling. For instance the "ß" symbol which does not exist in Switzerland and Liechtenstein should not be used in Swiss destination articles (except when discussing its absence), but should be used for German and Austrian articles under the currently applicable spelling rules.

See also