Herbert Allen Giles (8 December 1845 – 13 February 1935) was a British diplomat and sinologist, educated at Charterhouse. He modified a Mandarin Chinese Romanization system earlier established by Thomas Wade, resulting in the widely known Wade-Giles Chinese transliteration system. Among his prolific works were translations of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and the first widely published Chinese-English dictionary.
Herbert A. Giles was the fourth son of John Allen Giles (1808–1884), an Anglican clergyman. After studying at Charterhouse, Herbert became a British diplomat to China (1867–1892). He also spent several years at Fort Santo Domingo (1885–1888) in Tamsui, Taiwan. He was the father of Bertram, Valentine, Lancelot, Edith, Mable, and Lionel Giles. In 1897 Herbert Giles became only the second professor of Chinese appointed at the University of Cambridge, succeeding Thomas Wade. At the time of his appointment, there were no other sinologists at Cambridge. Giles was therefore free to spend most of his time among the ancient Chinese texts earlier donated by Thomas Wade, publishing what he translated from his wide reading.
Giles received the Prix St. Julien award from the French Academy in 1897 for his Chinese Biographical Dictionary. He dedicated the third edition of Strange Stories (1916) to his seven grandchildren, but at the end of his life was on speaking terms with only one of his surviving children. An ardent agnostic, he was also an enthusiastic freemason. He never became a Fellow at one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge, despite being a university professor for 35 years. He finally retired in 1932, and died in his ninetieth year.