AniDB Definition:Romanisation for Chinese

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The information on this page is provided as guidelines on the use of romanised Mandarin Chinese via Pinyin in AniDB. AniDB does not use the Wade-Giles romanisation. As Mandarin Chinese is the most prevalent Chinese dialect, AniDB will only require Mandarin romanisations as mandatory for entries. Romanisations for other dialects, such as Cantonese, can be optionally added where it is not the original Chinese production market; see more details below. This guide will also cover the use of romanised Cantonese Chinese via Yale Romanisation.

Please be aware that this is not an exact science, there are many viable solutions to the same problem, though when submitting change requests on romanised titles users are expected to adhere to the 'house style' of the database. When there is contention over a particular issue, this page will provide both alternatives. External links to Wikipedia are provided throughout for ideas and terms that might be unfamiliar.

Note In case of uncertainty, contact CDB-Man for assistance.

Cantonese vs Mandarin Transcriptions

The Main Title Chinese Transcription title should reflect the dialect used in the original Chinese production market. For example, Siu Sin is produced in Hong Kong for a Hong Kong audience; therefore, the Main Title Chinese Transcription title is Siu Sin to reflect the Cantonese reading of 小倩. The Mandarin transcription of Xiao Qian should be added as a synonym Chinese Transcription title.

The inverse would also apply, for a Chinese production produced in Mainland China for a Mainland China audience. Similar rules would also apply for other Chinese markets (Taiwan and Singapore).

之 (zhī) as a joiner for a sub-title

For the AniDB Main title transcribed title, always convert 之 into a colon ( : ).
Add as a synonym title, the title with 之 transcribed as zhi (Mandarin) or ji (Cantonese) as appropriate.


巴啦啦小魔仙之彩虹心石 - (Balala Xiaomoxian: Caihong Xinshi )
Chinese Official title (applies to simplified and traditional): 巴啦啦小魔仙之彩虹心石
Main title (Chinese transcription): Balala Xiaomoxian: Caihong Xinshi
Synonym title (Chinese transcription): Balala Xiaomoxian Zhi Caihong Xinshi


AniDB drops all diacritics in the romanised name used in the Main Title Chinese Transcription title. The romanised name should be easily searchable by users. Including diacritics in the Main Title Chinese Transcription would make the entry unsearchable for the vast majority of users, since most users cannot input all diacritics using their default IME ("input method editor").

As such, we apply the following guidelines:

  1. Required: for an entry's main transcription title, remove all diacritics, including umlauts (e.g. Ü --> U; ǚ --> u).
  2. Optional: a full version of the transcription with all diacritics can be added as an alias title.


我的天劫女友 - (Wo De Tian Jie Nuyou )
Chinese Official title (applies to simplified and traditional): 我的天劫女友
Main title (Chinese transcription): Wo De Tian Jie Nuyou
Synonym title (Chinese transcription): Wǒ De Tiān Jié Nǚyǒu

Glue Together Dictionary Words and Names

When transcribing, glue transcriptions together only for names and dictionary terms. For example, in the title 实验品家庭 (Shiyan Pin Jiating), 实验 (experiment) and 家庭 (family) are dictionary terms, but 实验品 (experimental product/object) is not a dictionary term.

Names of people

In addition to following Pinyin, the following rules apply to names of people: the second given name should be directly glued to the first given name, without separating them by hyphens, and starting the second given name with a lowercase letter. They should be written according to the following template/structure: "Familyname Namename". Examples:

  • For the first President of the People's Republic of China (PRC), use Mao Zedong. For his name, DO NOT write: Mao ZeDong, Mao Ze-dong, Mao Ze-Dong, Mao Tsetung, Mao TseTung, Mao Tse-tung, Mao Tse-Tung, or other variants.
  • For the 7th President of the PRC 毛泽东, use Xi Jinping. For his name, DO NOT write: Xi JinPing, Xi Jin-ping, Xi Jin-Ping, or other variants.

This also applies to names that are presumed to be Chinese in origin. For example, use Yang Wenli . For his name, DO NOT write: Yang Wen-li, Yang Wen-Li, Yang WenLi, or other variants.

Exceptions for Non-Mainland Chinese Mandarin (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc)

Chinese names should be written in Hanyu Pinyin, unless there is a more common romanisation used in English, for example: Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Yat-sen This is often the case with people from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and older overseas Chinese communities, as these locales employ their own romanisation standards (for example, Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Teng-hui, Tung Chee-hwa).

On a case-by-case basis, it may also be appropriate to use non-Hanyu Pinyin for all names in an anime produced in these countries; however, this is still generally discouraged.

Chinese Transcriptions of Non-Chinese Names

Ordinarily, we would follow the "Familyname Namename" rule transcribe 艾希莉 / 艾思莉 as Ai Xili / Ai Sili. However, this is also a close approximation to, and can be used as, a Chinese transcription of the English name Ashley (or the alternate spelling Ashlee; the pronunciation is the same regardless). If the character is known to be named Ashley within the anime, add Ashley as the main name and Ai Xili / Ai Sili as the alias name. If it is uncertain that the character is named Ashley, add the Chinese transcription as the main name, and Ashley as the alias.

Function words (虚词; 虛詞; xūcí)

Function words are separated from other words, including:

  1. Adverbs (副词; 副詞; fùcí): hěn hǎo (很好, very good), zuì kuài (最快, fastest), fēicháng dà (非常大, extremely big)
  2. Prepositions (介词; 介詞; jiècí): zài qiánmiàn (在前面, in front)
  3. Conjunctions (连词; 連詞; liáncí): nǐ hé wǒ (你和我, you and I/me), Nǐ lái háishi bù lái? (你来还是不来?; 你來還是不來?, Are you coming or not?)
  4. "Constructive auxiliaries" (结构助词; 結構助詞; jiégòu zhùcí) such as de (的/地/得), zhī (之) and suǒ (所): mànmàn de zou (慢慢地走), go slowly)
    1. A monosyllabic word can also be written together with de (的/地/得): wǒ de shū / wǒde shū (我的书; 我的書, my book)
  5. Modal auxiliaries at the end of a sentence: Nǐ zhīdào ma? (你知道吗?; 你知道嗎?, Do you know?), Kuài qù ba! (快去吧!, Go quickly!)
  6. Exclamations and interjections: À! Zhēn měi! (啊!真美!), Oh, that's so beautiful!)
  7. Onomatopoeia: mó dāo huòhuò (磨刀霍霍, honing a knife), hōnglōng yī shēng (轰隆一声; 轟隆一聲, rumbling)

Special Cases

Title Marks (《…》, 〈…〉, etc)

Convert all title marks to colons ( : ), in both the Chinese title and the transcription title.


秦时明月特别篇《帝子降兮》 - (Qin Shi Mingyue Tebie Pian: Dizi Jiang Xi )
Chinese title (applies to simplified and traditional): 秦时明月特别篇: 帝子降兮
Main title (Chinese transcription): Qin Shi Mingyue Tebie Pian: Dizi Jiang Xi