I personally use the Revised Romanisation of Korean. However, if a person is already known under a certain transcription, I will use this “official” transcription.
For example, 김언수, author of The Plotters, is known under the transcription Un-
Another confusing point is the place of the family name. If we follow the Korean order, the family name should come first, but if we adopt the Western order, the given name comes first. On the English cover of Korean literature, I think that I almost always see the given name first (Un-
If a Korean person chooses one transcription or if people massively use one transcription when a person is known outside Korea, it becomes the established transcription, and I will, of course, use it. The problem is for Korean authors who haven’t been translated into English and don’t necessarily have an established transcription that I know. Same goes for characters that I see in novels.
My personal preference is to systematically use the revised romanisation of Korean, adopt the Western order, and don’t use the dash in the given name. But I am aware that if everyone comes out with their own system, it will only make things more confusing! 😅
As a consequence I have decided to adopt what seems to be the Wikipedia standard: Revised romanisation of Korean, Korean order (family name first) and dash in the given name. To be sure, I will always write the family name in upper-case.
For example, while I would like to write the author 윤자영 as Jayeong YUN, I will write it YUN Ja-
To sum-up, it looks like there is two different things:
- A romanisation that allows us to write the name without using hangeul. In this case, it is best to use the revised romanisation of Korean and keep everything in the same order as in Korean. The dash is also very useful.
- An “English name” that Korean choose for themselves (or that somehow, becomes the standard transcription). In this case, people tend to choose a transcription that will match the English pronunciation, and they will switch to the Western order, at least when it comes to authors.
As long as someone is not known under a certain “English name”, I will use the “romanisation” described above. I always check and double-check on