Romanizing my kids names

Could I get some suggestions on romanizing my kids names please?
(Sorry mods, not quite sure where to put this as I’m just trying to get input on these 2 specific names)

It’s mainly for their Taiwan passports but also other things like school sometimes and eventual travel aboard.
My main concern is that people who aren’t familiar with the different romanization systems have an easier time making a more accurate guess of the pronunciation…but I know that’s probably not possible with this…so not really sure how to choose.
I would also like to know if I should capitalize each part with a hyphen between as I’ll write below.

These are the two given names…the family name is easy for me


My choices:
國偉 Guo-Wei
Really can’t do much with the Guo I guess…unless just making it Go- Away :slight_smile:.
Or,Gwo,…but that looks even stranger to me.

郁婷 Yi-Ting. Easier to get the,Yi, close although I guess technically should be Yui or Ywi? I also think it looks nice and simple but suppose some could guess Yi to be pronounced with a long “I”. Yee is another possibility? But seems like what would be used in HK or Malaysia.

When their stimmies get cashed by next month I’m getting them Taiwan Passports and renewing their U.S. ones.

Thanks for any any input!

I’ve always suggested to Taiwanese people that have asked me to use to pinyin for the name, as it is clear and standardized to the majority of the Chinese-speaking world (sorry, China does have more Chinese speakers than Taiwan, and yes, pinyin is more consistent than Taiwan’s various romanizations of names. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if Taiwan had a standard romanization of it’s characters, but I don’t fault Taiwan for refusing to conform).

I’ve seen 高 spelled Kao, so 國 could also be Kuo. Could also do "Ko or “Go” if you think it would easier for English speakers to sound out.

"When I see “Yi” spelled “I” like Yilan as I-lan, my brain processes that as the English letter I and pronounces it like “eye-lan”, so I would not do that.

If it were me, I’d have 國偉 as Guo-Wei (most common I would think for Taiwan) or Guowei (more like the pinyin I was taught). If you want to thumb your nose at China, Kuo-Wei would be the best option, but I think more open to being thoroughly mispronounced.

郁婷 Yi-Ting I think is great. Again, could do Yiting, but, again, Taiwanese tend to capitalize each character’s first letter. I would not do Yee, as you said, much more HK or Malaysian looking.

My :2cents:


Use Hanyu Pinyin for the given name, and use whatever romanization is in your passport for the family name, so you have the same surname on paper. I would capitalize the first letter of each character but it will all be capitalized in the passport so don’t worry too much. Hanyu Pinyin may not be the standard in Taiwan, but if you want foreigners to be able to pronounce it, your best shot is Hanyu Pinyin as that is what majority of foreigners learn.


And just for perspective, I will give the opposite advice. This is kind of a political answer, but I feel like in Taiwan most folk have used Wade-Giles (without umlauts or apostrophes) and it distinguishes Taiwanese from PRC. I would likely do Kuo-Wei and I-Ting. I wouldn’t make up your own and I would accept folk will often mispronounce. Some are easier for non-Chinese speakers (Tsai, Hsi) and others are more confusing. The answer above is kind of a compromise, mixing pinyin with how Wade-Giles does hyphens.


I’d use what are suggested by this site.


I would avoid hyphens because in certain places the hyphens can’t be entered into the computer system and get converted into a space. Then it gets confusing. Americans will think it is first name Guo, middle name Wei. Think being called “Guo W. Chen”. I had to put up a good fight getting the hyphen in my wife’s name in her U.S. green card (unsuccessfully) and drivers license (successfully). It’s not worth the hassle.

You’ve selected Hanyu Pinyin spellings. Proper punctuation and capitalization under that system would be Guowei and Yiting. No hyphens, no capitals.

But why bother with romanization in the first place if your kid is a dual national? It’s not like the Chinese version of the name has a transliteration of the English name. My kid has dual nationality; his Taiwan passport has American-style given first name and given middle name matching his U.S. passport that bear no resemblance to his Chinese name. I always consider the whole thing about putting in a middle name that is a romanization of the Chinese name to be a Chinese American thing for people without official Chinese language identity documents.


May I suggest something more classical, like

Kok-uí and Hiok-tîng


My kid’s Taiwanese passport has Chinese and “English” surnames that are completely different (English name does match their other passports).


The dash has been problematic for me in documentation. Some of my ID have a dash, some have a space, others don’t have a space.


Finally getting around to this.
Really appreciate all the replies and suggestions.
After considering all the replies here and also asking some people in Taiwan, Malaysia, and China who have travelled and lived abroad…we will go with GUOWEI and YUTING for the romanization of their Chinese given names in the Taiwan passports.
I found on the application we can also add an alias/AKA so now need to decide if we will put the English name as written in their U.S. passports in that space.
Thanks again!


Thanks. I mean what I assume is the required romanized version (LIN, MEI-HUA) of the Chinese characters like in this passport sample page. Have you done something different or are you talking about the AKA (MAY LIN) as in this?

That’s really tempting :grin: Too bad the symbols probably wouldn’t even be accepted on the Taiwan passport. Maybe I’ll ask them just to see what they say!

Something like in the pic above with the AKA below the Chinese name? I have to consider this also.

My daughters Taiwanese and British passport has no dash between the first and middle name, but when we applied for her 台胞證 Chinese travel permit they added a dash in between the first and middle name. I am guessing because in the mainland China system, the pinyin of your second and third character must be separated by a dash.

Yes, you should.

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Neither of my kids have Chinese citizenship due to the overlap of beaurocratic (hard word to spell ) nonsenses of Ireland and china intersecting with my own anxieties.

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Given what Beijing has been up to with its harassment / stalking of some its nationals overseas, I don’t think your strategy is off.


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Not to mention Dubin.

Don’t want to be a complainer, but yea

Donkey bolloks.

The dubland computer says no apparently.

So maybe not a major complaint in the covid era that my three year old has never met his Irish grandparents.

Because section 2.4 blah blah bolliks.

China never stopped us from visiting family. Statement of fact, sorry for sharing it. But my family can’t travel home because the people’s republic of Ireland. I really wish that could be a false statement.

Three year old who never met his grandparents is not a big deal

I’m not sure what you mean by this. In China, the given name is generally not separated by anything (e.g., Qiaoye, not Qiao-Ye). The former works better in English and Chinese.

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There’s no dashm ogbmote

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Hard pass.

(Just joking…my daughter loves the bastards, so I have started getting into it myself.)