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Tip 05: Adopt a Chinese name
03 May 2016
According to Chinese beliefs, a good name is critical to a person’s success in life.
Setting superstitions and beliefs aside though, adopting a Chinese name is a smart move if you’re seeking to capture the China market. Most Chinese in China do not speak English, so trying to remember Western names can be a feat for them. Just think of how difficult it can be for you to remember Chinese names.
In short, not only does having a Chinese name make introductions easier, it also makes you stand out from the rest, and makes it easier for Chinese buyers to remember.
That said, we’re not asking you to consult a feng shui master for a Chinese name nor translate your full name into Chinese (that would be a mouthful indeed). Instead, you can consider adopting a Chinese name that sounds similar to your first name – a transliteration, so to say, which would be the easiest way to achieve a Chinese name.
Prime examples would be US President Barack Obama, whose name is known simply as 奥巴马 (Ào Bā Mǎ) in China, or Elizabeth, which transliterates into 伊丽莎白 (Yī Lì Shā Bái).
However, these are not ‘real’ Chinese names, and these Chinese characters do not express any meaning or nuances that come with Chinese names in general. (Chinese parents tend to convey their hopes and aspirations in the name they bestow on their child.)
If you prefer to choose a ‘real’ Chinese name though, here are some tips to consider:
Keep it short: Chinese names are usually just two or three characters long. The first character is usually the surname, or family name, and is followed by first names (given names).
Keep it personal: Choose a Chinese name that you can identify with or which represents your personality, otherwise you may end up with a name that you might dislike.
Keep it real: Don’t name yourself after some fantastical character straight out from some wuxia (Chinese martial arts) novels or after a celebrity – native Chinese speakers may find it ridiculous for the former and immodest for the latter.
Consult for accuracy: If you happen to have native Chinese speakers as friends, consider consulting them and running your proposed Chinese name by them.
Above all, keep it simple! Your Chinese name should be one that is easy to pronounce and write. After all, it’s pointless if you can’t say nor remember your own Chinese name.
Here's wishing you all the best in picking a Chinese name that is the right fit for you!