Working Group on Romanization Systems


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.

Current status of UN romanization systems for geographical names

Language/script Version Date PDF Notes
Languages/scripts covered by systems recommended by the United Nations (30):
Amharic 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Arabic 5.0 2018-06-09 pdf  
Assamese 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Belarusian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Bengali 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Bulgarian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Chinese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Greek 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Gujarati 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Hebrew 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Hindi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Kannada 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Khmer 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Macedonian Cyrillic 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Malayalam 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Marathi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Mongolian (in China) 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Nepali 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Oriya 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Persian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Punjabi 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Russian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Serbian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Tamil 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Telugu 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Thai 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Tibetan 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Uighur 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Ukrainian 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  
Urdu 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Other languages/scripts (15):
Armenian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Burmese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Dzongkha 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Georgian 4.1 2018-12-17 pdf 2018: added a note on the Presidential decree of 2011
Japanese 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Kazakh 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Kirghiz 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Korean 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Lao 4.0 2013-09-24 pdf  
Maldivian 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Mongolian (Cyrillic) 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Pashto 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Sinhala 5.0 2021-10-21 pdf  
Tajik 4.0 2016-03-30 pdf  
Tigrinya 4.0 2013-02-26 pdf  

Resolutions on Romanization from recent Conferences

Click here to go to Resolutions

  • 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
  • During the 2023 3rd Session of UNGEGN, May 2023;
  • During the 2019 1st Session of UNGEGN in New York, May 2019;
  • 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, can be seen on the archived Working Group's website

  • The Working Group has its own website, archived at
  • Meetings
  • Meeting of Working Group members with Armenian experts (virtual, 10 June 2021)
  • GEGN.2/2021/32/CRP.32 Verification of Geographical names in Indonesia (submitted by Indonesia)
  • GEGN.2/2021/CRP.114: A brief introduction to guidelines on geographical names transformation from Japanese to Chinese (submitted by China)
  • GEGN.2/2021/CRP.120: Transcriptor: Solving your transliteration problems? (submitted by Netherlands)

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


    The archived Working Group website can be found at

  • ALA-LC Romanization Tables (scanned tables of the American Library Association and the Library of Congress)
  • BGN/PCGN romanization systems (NGA [BGN] website)
  • BGN/PCGN romanization systems (PCGN documents)
  • ISO TC 46/WG 3 (conversion of written languages)
  • KNAB romanization systems (used in the Place Names Database of EKI)
  • Transliteration of Non-Roman Scripts (maintained since Sept. 2002 by Thomas T. Pedersen)
  • Unicode Transliteration Guidelines (a CLDR project)

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