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[protege-discussion] represent classes in other languages

Timothy Redmond tredmond at
Thu Apr 22 07:14:14 PDT 2010

This is one of the few times where I will make a foray into a modeling 
issue.  There are two disadvantages to the approach that you describe.  
First when you change the name of a class the rdf:id (IRI) of the class 
changes.  That means that all ontologies that import this resource would 
have to change or they would not find the resource.   Suppose if a 
russian speaker added the class called


but mistypes the name when he creates the english version of the class 
and calls it


(or vice versa but not knowing any russian it is easier for me to 
mispell the english.)  Now suppose that this is not noticed and some 
time goes by.  Other ontologies reference the english class


Finally the mistake is noticed and the english class gets renamed to


Now all the ontologies that reference the english class will need to get 

The second disadvantage is that in this ontology, the assertions about 
A-type_granite will exist in more than one place.  I think that this 
might make the ontology more difficult to read.

An alternative approach - which is often recommended - is to represent 
the human readable names of the terms in the ontologies with the 
rdfs:label annotation.  It is probably recommended that the rdf:id would 
be meaningless in this case.  Both Protege 3 and Protege 4 can be 
configured to display the class using the label making the meaningless 
label effectively invisible.  The rdf:id never changes but spelling 
mistakes can be changed by modifying the label.   I have attached an 
example of this alternative approach.


On 04/22/2010 12:19 AM, Alex Shkotin wrote:
> Hi Manjula,
> we use very simple idea:
> in our bilingual dictionary every term (Russian, English) is a class 
> identifier.
> And if these two terms mean the same (are synonyms) we write that 
> these two classes are equivalent.
> have a look at our ontology:
> - by 
> <>
> click any English term and you see equivalent Russian one.
> - as dic ontology at
> - have a look at ontology file at
> Alex
> 2010/4/22 manjula wijewickrema <manjula53 at 
> <mailto:manjula53 at>>
>     Hi,
>     Could you please any body can guide me how did you represent
>     classes and idetifiers using Russian (or any other language)? What
>     are the steps did you follow?
>     Manjula.
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