When we learn a new language, it is a quite interesting and cool thing to get a new name in that language. It gives us a sense of familiarity with the culture and also it is an opportunity to take on a new identity for us. So it important to get it right, because it contains many meanings in a name, culture, custom and a rich history etc. Chinese names are quite different to other countries in terms of structure, written and pronunciation. In this blog post, we are going to introduce some techniques that could help you to find your name in Chinese.
1. Chinese Name Structure
Before we start to discuss the meaning of Chinese names, let’s take a look into the Chinese name structure first. Chinese names are structured differently from names in English. Family names come first, and are only one or two syllable long. Given names – what we usually call first names – are either one or two characters long.
2. Principles of picking up a Chinese name.
There are several principles that we should keep in mind of taking a Chinese name.
(1) Be clear what you are aiming for
Your primary goal should be to have a name that sounds like it could be a real Chinese person’s name, but you also want something that you identify with.
Example of Funny Name: 好厉害 (Awesome)
(2) Choose your surname first
There are a very limited number of family names – the vast majority of Chinese people have one of the 100 most common surnames. Names that don’t start with one of these surnames often won’t be readily recognized as a personal name.
Example of Funny Name: 活雷锋 (Living Lei Feng)
We would strongly encourage you to choose one of the 100 most common Chinese surnames. This ensures Chinese people will recognize your name as a person’s name rather than a thing or a place.
(3) Keep it short
Your full name should be two or three characters long. The surname is one character, and your given name can be either one or two characters long.
(4) Ask for help from your Chinese friends or teachers
There are so many cultural nuances involved with finding an appropriate Chinese name that you should make sure to run any possibilities by at least two native speakers.
(5) Don’t name yourself after an emperor or super famous people
In China, it is considered extraordinarily immodest to name a child after a famous person.
Example of Funny Names: 秦始皇(first emperor of Qin); 诸葛亮(Zhuge Liang)
(6) Share your name with your family
If members of your family are also like .Chinese culture, it makes sense to share the same Chinese surname with them if you also share the same English surname, but it’s not required. Women in Chinese mainland do not generally take their husband’s name, so married couples don’t need to have the same surname.
3. Find Your Name in Chinese
There are three methods to find your name in Chinese.
(1) Direct Translation from English Names.
Directly transliterating your English name to Chinese name is the simplest way. It’s more convenient for us to get familiar with our new names. Otherwise, when other people calling our Chinese names, we may not ware of they are actually referring to us.
Generally, the surname comes first. Our last names are usually used to find Chinese surnames with similar pronunciation, such as: Lee–> 李, George乔, Will–> 魏, Nicolas –>倪, Taylor –> 谭, Matthew–> 马/麦, Thomas –> 汤/唐, etc
First names: for instance, Alice–> 艾丽丝。Nowadays, not many people choose their first names from the direct translation of English names, because they sound not like typical Chinese names. So when people choose their first names, they usually combine the translation with meanings, convey the meaning of English names into Chinese. Here comes the second method.
(2) Combine the translation with meanings
Before we choose the name, we need to think about if there is any good wishes, strengths, merits, expectations, favorite things that we want to include in our Chinese names. It would make our name appropriate and unique to us.
Here are some examples:
The names contains the words of “hope, glory and bright future“
Jim,Jimmy: translation from English name “吉姆”，recommended name “继明”。
George: translation from English name “乔治”，recommended name “家振”。
Bob,Bobby: translation from English name “鲍伯”，recommended name “博辉”。
Morgan: translation from English name “摩根”，recommended name “慕刚”。
Tony: translation from English name “托尼”，recommended name “拓理”。
Chinese English names advocating morality
Freddie：translation from English name “弗雷德”，recommended name “为德”。
Gerry: translation from English name “盖瑞”，recommended name “杰礼”。
Randy: translation from English name “兰迪”，recommended name “仁迪”。
Vincent: translation from English name “文森特”，recommended name “伟善”。
Chinese English names advocating strong will
Wayne: translation from English name “韦恩”，recommended name “纬恒”。
Henry: translation from English name “亨利”，recommended name “恒励”。
Robert,Robin: translation from English name “罗伯特”，recommended name “若柏”。
Roger: translation from English name “罗杰”，recommended name “若剑”。
Lincoln: translation from English name “林肯”，recommended name “立行”。
Chinese English names advocating intelligence
Bill：translation from English name “比尔”，recommended name “秉理”。
Cuthbert：translation from English name “库伯特”，recommended name “凯博”。
Geoffrey：translation from English name “杰夫瑞”，recommended name “高立”。
Jerry：translation from English name “杰瑞”，recommended name “捷睿”。
Jason：translation from English name “杰森”，recommended name “杰声”。
Emphasize moral character for ladies
Sophia: translation from English name “索菲亚”，recommended name “淑菲”。
Shirley: translation from English name “莎莉”，recommended name “娴丽”。
Penny: translation from English name “佩尼”，recommended name “佩谊”。
Monica: translation from English name “莫尼卡”，recommended name “睦霖”。
Emphasize beauty character for ladies
Wendy: translation from English name “温迪”，recommended name “婉丽”。
Vicki: translation from English name “维琪”，recommended name “雯琪”。
Rose: translation from English name “罗斯”，recommended name “若玫”。
Emphasize the cleverness for ladies
Emily: translation from English name “爱米丽”，recommended name “敏俐”。
Fanny: translation from English name “范妮”，recommended name “飞怡”。
Gladys: translation from English name “格兰蒂丝”，recommended name “歌迪”。
Jacqueline: translation from English name “杰奎琳”，recommended name “佳灵”。
Jessica: translation from English name “杰西卡”，recommended name “思佳”。
Emphasize the elegant and generous character for ladies
Alexandra: translation from English name “亚历山德拉”，recommended name “立珊”。
Annie: translation from English name “安妮”，recommended name “爱仪”，
Eva: translation from English name “伊娃”，recommended name “仪华”。
Isabel: translation from English name “伊莎贝尔”，recommended name “仪珊”。
Kay: translation from English name “凯”，recommended name “可仪”、
Molly: translation from English name “莫莉”，recommended name “慕礼”。
Ruby: translation from English name “茹比”，recommended name “如冰”。
(3) Use a Chinese name tool
Besides the two ways mentioned above, there is also a very popular method to get a Chinese name—using a Chinese name tool. You could just simply type your English name and several other features, such as gender, personality etc., and the website will generate a Chinese name for you automatically.
It would be a good starting point if you have no idea where you should begin with. You may not choose the exact name the website gives you; it provides some ideas for references.
Here are two of the Chinese name tools to help you find your name.
Chinese name tools: https://www.chinesenametools.com/
Mandarin tools https://www.mandarintools.com/chinesename.html
Sometimes, the generated name from the websites may sound weird. Make sure you double check with your Chinese friends or teachers and ask their opinion on it before making it official.
The name is not only an identity for individuals, but also represent people’s characteristics, personalities. Therefore, get an appropriate name is like find a suitable dress that makes people look good. Hope after reading this post, you will find some inspirations for choose a suitable and appropriate Chinese name.
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