I was surprised when I came across this Wikipedia page: アーシュラ・K・ル＝グウィン
Does someone knows what that = sign is? I can see it works as a separator like 「・」 Is it simply an alternative?
It's a double hyphen, not an equals sign.
One of its uses is when transliterating names that have a hyphen in them. This is to avoid confusion with the extended sound symbol (
ー) in Japanese. For example:
クロード・レヴィ＝ストロース (Claude Lévi-Strauss)
Another time when the double hyphen is used is when in the original language, there is a stop in the sound. Your example fits this case.
アーシュラ・K・ル＝グウィン (Ursula Kroeber Le Guin). In English there's a very obvious stop after
Now you might ask why use the double hyphen instead of
・ (the interpunct). After all,
・ is used way more often in nearly all cases as noted here:
中黒（・）を用いるのが一般的だが、厳密な規定は無い。. It seems that it mostly depends on whether the text is vertical or horizontal.
For vertical text,
・ is preferred overwhelmingly. For horizontal texts,
゠ can be used instead, although people still generally use
・. Source: The best answer from here