I’m wondering if someone here who is better with Chinese or perhaps even a native can help me out.
My wife and I will be moving to Taiwan in late August and we are wondering what our Chinese names should be. She really likes the surname of ma3 (horse), but we don’t know what our given names should be. She was considering the name 马玉 and then I would have the name 马天， but a Chinese professor I had said that two character names are a mainland thing and if we are in Taiwan and want to be more Taiwanese-like then we should have a three character name.
Does anyone have any thoughts to this?
We want to have easy characters in our names because we are lazy stupid foreigners, but we don’t want the names to sound really dumb. Also, I understand that the characters I posted are in simplified Chinese, I don’t know how to write traditional characters on this computer.
can i give some suggestions?
马玉 is quite nice since the meaning of 玉 is a chinese pendant / giok…
if have to make 2 character for it, i can suggest 马美玉? ma mei yu…
the meaning of 美 is beautiful…
and about 马天, i can suggest 马天力… the meaning of 天 is sky…
and 力 is power…
hope it helps…
He’s right. China not only has a ‘one child’ policy, they have a ‘two character’ policy, because they’ve almost run out of characters. Soon there will be no more characters left in the Chinese language, and new children will be given numbers. It’s similar to the Great Vowel Drought of the medieval era which resulted in eastern European countries with names like Krsygstvn and Wyzcxmny, and entire families having to share a single diphthong.
Personally, I like 馬的… (Yes, yes…I know it’s the wrong ‘ma’)
Imagine that conversation.
New friend: What’s your name?
(the above was just in jest…)
Maoman is right. You don’t need Chinese names when you get here. Just use your English names. If you plan to study Chinese your teacher will be able to help you get a proper and more acceptable name. Also, I remember one poster on here once noted he “borrowed” a name from a taxi driver. They all have their names written on a plaque in their taxis. That way you can see if you like the characters and you know you’re using a real name people actually use. Unlike some of my adult students who go by such whoppers as, Caesar, Nox, Candle, Golder, Satan, Lucifer and Bum…
After looking at all the options we’ve decided to go with:
But seriously, I guess we will just deal when we get there. I already have a Chinese name given by my old professor, but I don’t like it much so I’ve stopped using it. She will be studying so she can just talk to her professor when she gets there I suppose and we will figure it out then.
[quote=“Ockerdoodle”]Thanks for all of your help guys!!
After looking at all the options we’ve decided to go with:
Thanks Bismarck! [/quote]
Conversation starters, for sure! (Or enders…)
[quote=“Ockerdoodle”]But seriously, I guess we will just deal when we get there. I already have a Chinese name given by my old professor, but I don’t like it much so I’ve stopped using it. She will be studying so she can just talk to her professor when she gets there I suppose and we will figure it out then.
I actually didn’t have a Chinese name until I wanted to get married. I sort of had one made up, but it was a little stupid, and TBH, I never used it.
Getting married I needed a chop with a Chinese name, and later for household registration. So I took my wife’s family name, because no Chinese family name I could choose for myself would ever really be my “real” name or have any real historical or familial relevance to me.
Her family name (and now mine, in Chinese) is: 甘
My two character name is a transliteration of my English name. Fortunately, my English name is two syllables and easy to transliterate, however, I still chose the two characters I felt comfortable with writing and liked the look of. Sometimes I get a wry smile, but I’ve never had any problems with it. It’s a name that has relevance and special meaning to me. A name I can relate to on a personal level. I can honestly say, it’s my real name as much as my English name.
So, if you really just want to have a Chinese name, go with anything you feel happy with. It’s not like it will be registered anywhere, unless you intend to get married (not likely as you already are), naturalize or something like that. And if in a year or two you no longer feel you like that name, you can always just change it.
My suggestion: don’t only ask foreigners for suggestions on names. Seriously, many don’t have the ear for what sounds good vs. country-bumpkinish vs. just plain daft. You should definitely clear your ideas with more than one local, preferably someone with edumacation and taste.
Sage advice when translating names, phrases and other text out of your own language and into Chinese.
Think of what happens when Chinese speakers consult other Chinese speakers about what makes a good English name. You end up with names like Dinger, Mornicar, and B52. Think of what happens when Chinese speakers translate things into English. You get Chinglish.
We laugh at Chinglish. But what about “Engnese”? It’s just as bad. On the rare occasion that I have to translate something into Chinese, I always seek at least two native speakers to review it.
No matter how good you (that’s the generic you) may think your Chinese is, that of a native speaker is better.
I was known only by my first name (in English) when I studied language school here, purely because ‘My parents already gave me a name and I don’t see a need for a new one’. Though many people tried to give me one ¬.¬;
Then I applied for university and got given the white-ist, grossest name ever: 盧沂絲 (hardly anybody can read the middle character, and it’s a transliteration of my middle name). So I asked a Taiwanese friend to help me pick a name that I ‘looked like’, he gave me a few characters that he thought suited me and I ended up as 宜玲 (not similar to my English name at all!)
I’m quite happy with it; the only problem is sometimes my papers get these comments on it: ‘Why is your grammar so bad? Why is your writing so messy? Why is this and that and that character written incorrectly? Are you trying to be a foreigner or something?’ when teacher’s aides mark my paper XD So I guess it sounds Taiwanese enough!
If your wife really likes 玉, I kinda like 玉惠 =) I also met a hong kong guy once called 天海 but that was a very strange name, and we all let him know so.
I suggest you do what my friend did - find a few characters that you like, and ask a friend to make suggestions, then choose. Pick a surname that sounds a little bit like your original maybe.
You say your good lady will be studying here. Well, here teacher(s) will give her a Chinese name and she can ask them to create one for you as well. Whenever I gave people Chinese names, I used a book of real names to choose them from and made their family name from one of the sounds in their real name, plus a 2 character personal name again which was using some of the sounds of their real first name. That often feels comfy and not too alien to the person.
Take it as it comes when you get here.
And, what tosh about the mainland running out of characters! Do save server space and refrain from typing bosh, huh?