Chinese & English Baby Names

What are some Chinese names that have a close phonetic equivalent to an English name. Boy’s or girl’s names are fine, as I’m not sure which he/she will be yet. For example my nephew’s name is Hao (don’t know character or tone) and his English name is Howie.

There are no standard Chinese names. Chinese people choose names by thinking of characteristics that they’d like the child to have and choose characters that have those meanings. Others choose part of the name by following what have been prescribed by their ancestors and then adding an additional character.

However, there are canned transliterations of English names – i.e. David = 大衛; Lisa = 麗莎.

Chinese names are either one or two syllables. So if you want a close phonetic match, you’ll want to pick a short English name (i.e. no Elizabeth). Else, you can just try to match the initial syllable and leave it at that. For example, singer 周杰倫 (Zhou1 Jie2 Lun2) have chosen Jay as his English name because it is close to Jie2.

For my kids, their English and Chinese names have no phonetic relation to each other at all.

I’m not sure I buy that, it’s very coincidental that so many people choose the same characters for their kids. For the sake of argument let’s go with canned transliterations or English names which are phonetically similar to what could be a Chinese name.

While its everyone’s choice whether they want to have distinct English and Chinese names, I would like to try to keep it simple. This might not work once the family baby naming committee gets in on the action, but for now that’s the plan.

If you want similar-sounding names and have to consider the choices of the family for the Chinese name, it may be easier to wait for the Chinese name and then choose an English name with sounds similar to one or more of the characters in the Chinese name. If the family goes to fortune tellers for the name selection, it could be really frustrating for you to match the names if you already have English names in mind.

If you are just asking for interest then I remember there is a list of English names and their transliterations in Chinese somewhere online, you could try a google search.

In our case, I chose the English names first then my husband chose Chinese names later. This was only because I cared more about names than he did and he doesn’t believe in fortune telling etc. For our first child we tried to match the sounds but all the names sounded very silly or the Chinese name was obviously the name of a foreigner, which we wanted to avoid as my kids are Taiwanese and will go to local school and we wanted them to have “proper” Chinese names.

It’s also helpful to choose a Chinese name that works in all pinyin systems - our daughter has a single character name, but it’s the same in all commonly-used pinyin systems, as is her surname.

I recall finding a few sites on the internet that gave pretty accurate translations of even some uncommon names. Both of my kids have phonetically similiar English & Chinese first, or given names. After that, it breaks out into biodiverse chaos: Hakka & Norse jockeying for position…
I’ll try and find a link amongst the clutter of flutter that are my bookmarks.

I’m not sure I buy that, it’s very coincidental that so many people choose the same characters for their kids.[/quote]
Put it this way. Ask a native Chinese speaker what is the most common Chinese given name. Time how long it takes for them to give you an answer. Next, ask a native English speaker what is the most common English given name. I bet the English speaker will come up with an answer (I’m betting either John or Michael for boys) within seconds while the Chinese speaker is still wondering whether it’s possible to correctly answer your question without referring to the statistics bureau. Having said that, there are common characters that are used in names – 文, 偉, 國, 智, 賢, 麗, 慧, 萍, 淑 to name a few.

If you want transliterations/translations, you can go to:

If you’re going to have more than one child, you might want to consider choosing a character (assuming you’ll be using a 2-character given name) that will be common among all the children.

Have fun!

Let me guess, you named your daughter Mao Mao? :wink:

Thanks for the input, I’ve decided to name him/her after the artist