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Frequently Asked Questions
 about names translation

How many names have you already translate?

Honestly I don't know. I started this in 1998 and never stop since. So I would guess more than 10 000 by now.

How do you translate given names and full names in Chinese?

The method I use for the transliteration of names in Chinese is based on phonetic. I have been initiated to this method during a stay in China as a guest professor. It is the same method used by the big Chinese news agencies to translate western names to be published in newspapers and magazines and electronic media. This method can be used to transliterate phonetically into Chinese symbols the names from 45 foreign languages. So almost any name can be transliterate into Chinese characters.

Can I use the Chinese symbols vertically?

You can use them horizontally or vertically. The symbols order remains the same both ways. For calligraphy, tattoos and art works the vertical presentation is often used.

Is there a Chinese alphabet?

There is no Chinese alphabet in the sense we understand it in the Westerner languages. In the Westerner culture the word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta. Each of the letters of our alphabet represents a sound that generally has no particular meaning. Chinese characters are not letters. Although there are a lot of exceptions, Chinese characters represent a concept, an idea or an object. The syllable is what gets closer to our conception of the alphabet we use for spelling words in the Westerner languages.

Can you translate initials?

Because there is no Chinese alphabet, initials cannot be translated into Chinese symbols.

I have different versions of the same name, which one is the good one?

If your translator does not use a method, he reproduces your name phonetically as it sounds for him. The result is different if your translator is a native Chinese from mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong or if he is born or leaves in a western country. Each version is not absolutely bad, but it is not a standard one as mandarin Chinese, the official language in China, is concerned.

What does my name mean in Chinese?

As we already mentioned, the method used for representing western names in Chinese characters is transliteration. So, in representing foreign names, characters are used for their sound value only, not their usual meaning. In this case the meaning of the name remains the same as in the original language. However, if you order a Chinese equivalent of a western name, the meaning of this new Chinese name is included.

Why do I need a stencil outline?

Most people don't realize that every tattoo design has a matching stencil. To apply tattoos on the skin, the tattoo artist needs both a good clear reference of the actual design, and well drawn stencils (line drawings) as the "blueprint" for the actual tattoo. When you get tattooed, your tattoo artist will use stencil outlines to trace the artwork onto your body. Because of the size and crispness of the characters. Some tattooist may charge you to do this unless they have stencil outlines to work with. For you convenience, I provide you both the actual designs and the matching stencils. You simply print out both the designs and stencils and then take them to your tattooist who can scale the design to the desired size.

What are the differences between kanji and Chinese symbols?

Kanji is the term for Chinese symbols that are used in the Japanese language. Kanji in Japanese are typically characters from the Chinese language that have been adapted to mean Japanese words. The meanings in Chinese and Japanese can be the same but pronounced differently, or they may have entirely different meanings.


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Updated 12/08/15