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How to Write Your Name in Chinese

Updated April 17, 2017

With the increasing exposure to Chinese culture, modern-day Americans are becoming more interested in the Chinese language. Some may even be curious as to how to go about writing their names in Chinese. Unfortunately, Chinese-English translations are not one-to-one. That is, there is not a single answer to the question "What is my Chinese name?" On the bright side, this gives you a certain amount of freedom in choosing a Chinese name; you can follow a basic set of rules to choose a name that you feel suits you.

Familiarise yourself with the Pinyin system of pronunciation. Purchase or borrow a book that relates the Pinyin pronunciation of Roman characters to the English pronunciation of Roman characters.

Determine whether your last name has meaning. For example, family names like "White" and "Weeks" have clear meanings. Other names, like "Cole" and "Perry" are seemingly without meaning.

Choose the first character for your Chinese name. If your name has a meaning, use the dictionary to look up the Chinese word for that meaning. For example, "White" translates to "Bai" and "Weeks" translates to "Zhou." Both of these characters can be commonly found in Chinese names. If your name has no clear meaning, use the Pinyin system to look up the set of characters that correspond best to the first syllable of your last name. For example, "Cole" matches well with the Pinyin "Kou," and "Perry" matches with "Pei," both of which are often surnames.

Choose the second character for your Chinese name. Use the same process to analyse your English first name.

Choose the third character for your Chinese name. Use the same process with your English middle name. If you do not have a middle name, your name will be only two characters. This is fine, as many Chinese people only use two characters in their names.

Things You'll Need

  • An English-Chinese dictionary with a Pinyin index
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About the Author

Having obtained a Master of Science in psychology in East Asia, Damon Verial has been applying his knowledge to related topics since 2010. Having written professionally since 2001, he has been featured in financial publications such as SafeHaven and the McMillian Portfolio. He also runs a financial newsletter at Stock Barometer.