Dear ladies and gentlemen, pronouncing Chinese names can be tricky and hard for non-native speakers. Therefore, Chinese people usually decide to give themselves or their children anglicized names so it’s easier for them to integrate into Western society. However, do you know what is the best method for choosing the proper name which won’t shame you?
Our guide for giving a proper English name is suitable for any English-speaking country, we will use America as an example.
Part I: What you should avoid
Don’t use Chinese naming practice when choosing an English name.
Don’t worry about the meaning of the name since most of the Americans don’t even know the meaning behind their names, so they wouldn’t also know about meaning of yours. Nobody cares about ‘true meanings’ of English names.
If you have some friend called Philip, ask him if he knows that his name means “Friend of horses”.
Do not translate some positive-sounding words in your language or your name into English and make that into your name. If your name is ‘Shuang’ don’t name yourself ‘Happy’.
Don’t try to be creative.
Avoid picking names you’ve seen in movies, television, or other names that sound cool, cute, or trendy to you. You don’t have a western sense of humor, most likely they will think it is absurd or horrible. You don’t want your name or name of your child to be like this:
Avoid always asking your Chinese friends or family what they think about some names since you will interact with Westerns in future. Unless those people e.g. live abroad or have Western friend.
Don’t copy celebrities.
Some of them are using their artistic names under which they perform, those are not official names.
Another reason is that you have a high opinion about that person but some others don’t have, you don’t want people to relate you with that celebrity because you have the same name.
That celebrity might have/had an old-fashioned name which is not suitable for this period.
Part II: What you should do
Choose a name from the 100 most popular names for your or yours kid birth year.
The United States Social Security Administration has a website that allows you to look up for those names. Just enter the birth year and the list will show up accordingly.
The recommendation is not to choose the first 10 since they are top-ranked and probably a lot of people have it. Consider other 90 names.
Now have a look at those names and see if some sound similar to your name. E.g. if your name is ‘Sheng’ you can choose ‘Shawn’ as an English name.
After choosing one name from 90 possible don’t try to change it to sound more unique or cute. E.g. If you choose the name Jack don’t add y, Jacky is a nickname that Americans use to call their children. Don’t use it as an official name.
When you choose your name don’t feel uncomfortable if some Westerns give you a nickname accordingly to your English name. Probably they liked you and that’s how they are showing their sympathy.
Avoid changing your anglicized name from time to time. Once you choose stick to it. Otherwise, it creates confusion and you will look like someone who is not capable of making decisions or someone insecure.
Dear all, I hope this article will help you with this hard task- choosing the proper name. Please feel free to share your favorite English name or some funny names you may hear of!
Let me start sharing funny names with you, e.g. once I met a man called Eleven and a lady called King. How about you?