Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Deriving My Chinese Name

I decided to try and find my name in Chinese today for my business cards. My first name I found easily enough on this website. My second name was more of a challenge, and in the end made it up from characters of names which had parts which sounded similar so I got:

So, the 'duh' from Duffy, followed by the 'de' from Edwards, ending with the 'man' from Hoffmann should do.

The only trouble with this is that the resulting name might be unsuitable: the combination might make up a term that sounds like something rude, undesirable, or worst of all - unlucky. So I'm going to try and get it checked before I print it on my cards - it would be embarrassing to hand out cards and find people go suddenly quiet and edge away.

Added later: Just had another thought - maybe I could just find the Chinese for 'snail' and 'man' instead. Thinking about it, that might be a more meaningful translation.

Added next day: Words now checked for unsuitability and apparently they're fine, so going to try and find a way to get them on my business cards now.


Blogger N.L. Lumiere said...

"Go quiet and edge away." Very funny, cackle.
Isn't it wonderful that we can all write in Chinese and Arabic and Russian now, thanks to the internet?

Wed Oct 07, 09:55:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yea, Nora! The power at all our fingertips - it makes us into super-people...well, almost...

Wed Oct 07, 10:58:00 pm  
Blogger pierre l said...

Another opportunity for that trip to a Chinese restaurant at a quiet time.
How are the chopsticks going?

Thu Oct 08, 08:13:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

The chopsticks are going quite well now, thanks Pierre. We tried eating noodles with them last night and found those much easier to eat with chopsticks than chips!

Thu Oct 08, 09:03:00 am  
Blogger Brian Clegg said...

One thought, Clare - which way round should you do it? I taught a class of Chinese speakers a while ago and they often addressed me as 'Clegg' because they assumed that the surname came first...

Thu Oct 08, 01:00:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Very good point, Brian. Should I put my forename first in the European way because I am European, or put it last because I am writing in Chinese?

Chinese names also usually have three characters - and I was thinking of trying to condense my name into that, but in the end gave up.

Ugh, it is so complicated. Apparently some western-savvie Chinese people now write their name in the western way, and consequently figuring out a way to address them becomes more complicated since it is difficult to tell which method has been adopted. If the author of the paper is 'Wai Dong' is that Professor Dong or Professor Wai? I have decided to cover all possibilities by addressing the person concerned as Professor Wai Dong...

Thu Oct 08, 01:27:00 pm  

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