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I have a situation where I need to cite names (with biblatex) in both East Asian order and Western order, such that the bibliography lists an entry like 'Smith, John and Yamada Tarou' or 'Yamada Tarou and John Smith', but in-line citations list it as 'Smith and Yamada'. I know how to change name orders globally (with \DeclareNameAlias{sortname}{last-first} and so on), but is it possible to change them on an individual basis?

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    You could force "Yamada Tarou" via author = {Smith, John and {Yamada Tarou}} (and maybe define shortauthor if need be). I think biblatex is not really capable of dealing with Eastern names in a satisfying fashion. Changing the name format for one name, though, seems very complicated, after all how is biblatex to know where to change the format. – moewe Mar 19 '14 at 7:02
  • Yeah, I was expecting to have to use some kind of workaround. shortauthor seems like a good solution (if you don't use it, it ends up as 'Smith and Yamada Tarou', which is weird). – Sjiveru Mar 19 '14 at 15:16
  • This solution is working quite well, thank you! Put your comment in an answer and I'll accept it. – Sjiveru Mar 20 '14 at 15:57
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Unfortunately, biblatex is as of now only able to deal with western names in a satisfying fashion. In particular, biblatex assumes names to have a "first last" format where "first" is the given name and "last" the family name.

We can use a kind of ugly hack in this situation. Just put the East Asian name into curly braces, biblatex will then treat this name as one unit (not consisting of any first or last names). To obtain only the family name in citations, use the shortauthor field, add Western style names as before and just the family name of the Eastern Asian name.

author = {Smith, John and {Yamada Tarou}},
shortauthor = {Smith, John and Yamada},
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  • Apparently, using a shortauthor including a Western-order authors confuses biblatex, so that you'll have to specify a shortauthor field for any Western-order authors whose names appear in collaboration with Eastern-order authors. Following the above Smith and Yamada example, citations for any other book written by Smith will appear as 'J. Smith' unless you specify a shortauthor field for all of them. – Sjiveru Mar 21 '14 at 16:58
  • @Sjiveru Ahh, yes that is thanks to the uniuequename feature. – moewe Mar 22 '14 at 6:44
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    @Sjiveru Found a fix! Give the full name of Smith in the shortauthor field, only shorten the East Asian name. So it's shortauthor = {Smith, John and Yamada}. – moewe Mar 22 '14 at 12:46

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