Unknown Characters in Mountain Names


Outdoor enthusiasts all over the world love exploring new trails and mountain ranges. Mountain names in the Americas and Europe don’t pose any major questions for “westerners”. The biggest threat is to face some diacritics (e.g. in German, Italian, Spanish, French, etc.) which usually can be ignored without any consequences. Greek peaks might bring some challenges for those who didn’t study physics in high school or missed the lessons (those peaks often remind a formula, e.g. Mount Olympus in Greek is Όλυμπος). But that’s nothing compared to troubles of reading peak names in China, Taiwan, and Japan!

Xueshan by @sshare888

While one of the most famous peaks Xueshan is translated into English, other peaks are in Chinese. The only thing you could learn from it is that 山 means “mountain” as it is present in almost all of them. There’s not much value of knowing the name of the mountain if you can’t even pronounce it. Luckily, the PeakVisor app solves that problem!

Recently, we implemented an automatic transliteration of Chinese and Japanese characters into Latin alphabet. The use of Latin script to transliterate Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and many other languages is called Romanization. It allows us to present any word, including peak names, using the Latin alphabet. So, if you come to China, Japan, or Taiwan you will see mountain names written in Latin alphabet, so you will be able to read them.

Pinyin is the Romanization of the Chinese characters based on their pronunciation. In Mandarin Chinese, the phrase “Pin Yin” literally translates into “spell sound”, in other words, spelling Chinese phrases with letters from the English alphabet. PeakVisor uses this approach to write Chinese mountain names.

The Hepburn system is the most widely used for Romanization of Japanese. PeakVisor uses this system to present peak names without an established international spelling.

As part of our oriental efforts, PeakVisor features Japanese 100 Famous Mountains and 100 Peaks of Taiwan as special categories. Our editorial team prepared descriptions of many significant mountain ranges, such as the Yushan range in Taiwan. We hope you will enjoy those mountains even more having all these tools available.

Taiwan Mountains
Taiwan Mountains by Oil Su

We are very interested in hearing from you, especially if you use PeakVisor in the countries with alphabets other than Latin. Please send us your mountain photos at peakvisor@routes.tips

Mountains are everything for us!

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