Working Group on Romanization Systems


Ms. Catherine Cheetham (United Kingdom), E-mail


The basic mandate of the Working Group is to consider and reach agreement on a single romanization system for each non-Roman writing system; the systems are for application to geographical names and should be proposed by a (donor) country. The process requires time for full consultations on technical matters between the Working Group, the proposers and potential users. Romanization systems should be based on sound scientific principles and be implemented by the proposing country. New systems are referred to the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names for endorsement and are then passed to ECOSOC for resolution and vote before becoming a United Nations standard.

The Working Group contributed Part one, "Romanization systems for geographical names" to UNGEGN's Technical reference manual for the standardization of geographical names, published by the United Nations in 2007.

In 2009, the Working Group contributed expertise to assist the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to develop documentation needed for the submission of proposals for new top-level domain names in non-Roman scripts.

Resolutions on Romanization from recent Conferences
  • XI/3. Romanization of Arabic geographical names
  • X/6. Romanization of Belarusian geographical names
  • X/7. Romanization of Bulgarian geographical names
  • X/8. Romanization of Iranian geographical names
  • X/9. Romanization of Ukrainian geographical names
  • IX/8. Implementation of romanization systems by sponsoring countries
  • IX/9. Romanization of Hebrew
  • Meetings
  • The Working Group has met during the 1st Session of UNGEGN in New York on 1st May 2019
  • The Working Group has met in conjunction with the Working Group on Country Names in Paris, March 2018;
  • During the 11th United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, New York, August 2017;
  • During the 30th session of UNGEGN, New York, August 2017;
  • In conjunction with the Working Group on Exonyms, Prague, April 2017; and
  • During the 29th Session of UNGEGN, Bangkok, April 2016.

  • More information, including the working papers presented at these and previous meetings, and the meeting reports, can be seen on the Working Group's website.

  • The Working Group has its own website at
  • The website contains updated versions of romanization systems (currently 30 approved by the UN with 15 further systems included for information) as presented to the Conferences and in Working Group documents;
  • Romanization systems are available for download as pdf and html files.

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