My Chinese Name: How to Say and Write Your Name in Chinese (+ Examples)

name in Chinese

帕特里克 Pà tè lǐ kè… 夏洛特 Xià luò tè… 史蒂文 Shǐ dì wén…

Do these names sound familiar to you? They’re some of the most common English names pronounced in Mandarin Chinese. If you are visiting or living in China, one of the big questions you can’t get away with from Chinese people is “what’s your name?”. So you’ll definitely want to know how to say your name in Chinese.

If you don’t know yet, all foreign names can be easily translated into Chinese, one way or another. Sure, you can belt out your name in English. Problem is, people in China – except for young people in big cities like Shanghai or Beijing – generally don’t speak English. If you answer with “Patrick”, or “Charlotte”, chances are, they can’t recognize, remember, or even pronounce your name. That’s why it’s important to learn how to say your name in Chinese.

Luckily for you, we got this entire post dedicated to name in Chinese!

We’ll cover the most common names in the world – both their official Chinese translations and common variations, teach you how to write your name in Chinese characters, and pronounce it in standard Mandarin. Besides, we’ll look at the logic behind the Chinese translations of foreign names and show you how your name is translated from English or your native language in the first place. And at the end of the post, we’ll help you learn a few expressions you can use when introducing yourself to your Chinese-speaking friends.

Sound good? Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

First and foremost, let’s learn how to say “name” in Chinese.

Name in Chinese

The word for “name” in Chinese is:

  • 名字 (míngzi)

It’s a very quick and simple word for you to add to your staple Chinese vocabulary! If you break the word into characters, 名 (míng) stands for “given name”, and 字 (zì) means “courtesy name”, which is the name given to a person when they reach adulthood in traditional Chinese culture.

Technically, 名字 (míngzi) only means given name, but informally, you can use 名字 (míngzi) to refer to your full name (family name + given name).

Another word for “name” in Chinese is:

  • 姓名 (xìngmíng)

The difference between the two words is that 姓名 (xìngmíng), formed by the characters 姓 (xìng) – “family name” and 名 (míng) – “given name”, is the official word for full name, and is thus used in formal contexts like written documents. Meanwhile, 名字 (míngzi) is more frequently used in conversation, or when saying phrases such as “my name”, which in Chinese translates to 我的名字 (wǒ de míngzi).

How to Translate Your Name into Chinese

translate name into Chinese

The Chinese language does not have an alphabet, rather, the writing system is made up of thousands of different characters. So in Chinese, all foreign names – whether they come from English, Greek, or Russian – need to be written in characters, which are words essentially, instead of letters.

“Then how do I translate my name into Chinese?”, you asked.

Well, with a few exceptions, the majority of the foreign names are translated, more accurately, transliterated into Chinese phonetically by stringing together Chinese characters that sound similar to the syllables or phonemes of the original name. For instance, Jason becomes 杰森 (Jié sēn), two Chinese characters that sound like Jason in English.

Translating Western Names into Chinese

For certain Western names, transliteration is rather convenient because all you have to do is break your name into its component syllables and imagine how you would pronounce them in a thick Chinese accent, and you’ve got it.

Case in point:

  • Amanda → A-man-da → 阿曼达 (pronunciation: Ā màn dá)
  • Kamila → Ka-mi-la→ 卡米拉 (pronunciation: Kǎ mǐ lā)
  • Mina → Mi-na → 米娜 (pronunciation: Mǐ nà)

As you can see, even though these names may look completely unrecognizable when written in Chinese characters, their Pinyin versions (the Romanization of the Chinese characters) look pretty much the same as the originals, aside from the tone marks.

But here’s the main issue:

Because Chinese characters can only represent syllables as concrete blocks of sound but not as fluid combinations of letters, most western names, when transliterated into Chinese, don’t sound like the originals.

For instance,

  • Bradley → B-ra-d-ley → 布莱德利 (pronunciation: Bù lái dé lì)
  • Patricia → Pa-t-ri-ci-a → 帕特里西娅 (pronunciation: Pà tè lǐ xī yà)

Since each Chinese character is just one syllable, you need a different character to represent the different parts of a consonant or vowel cluster which would be pronounced together as one sound in English (e.g. “tr”, “ia”).

So, in the above examples, while “Bradley” is two syllables in English, it becomes a four-character/syllable name when transliterated into Chinese. And “Patricia”, a three-syllable English name is now five syllables in Chinese.

Besides, Mandarin Chinese has a much smaller stock of sounds compared with English (there are only around 400 syllables in Chinese while there are over 10,000 in English), so very often, the sounds in the foreign name don’t exist at all in Chinese. In that case, you just have to produce the closest equivalent you can!

Just look at what happened to these names.  

  • Kimberly → Kim-ber-ly → 金伯莉 (pronunciation: Jīn bó lì)
    (There is neither “kim” nor “ber” sound in Chinese, so “jīn” and “bó” are used for approximation)
  • Donald → Don-nal-d → 唐纳德 (pronunciation: Táng nà dé)
    (There is neither “don” nor “nal” sound in Chinese, so “Táng” and “nà” are used for approximation)

Though these Chinese transliterations barely sound anything like the original names, it’s about the best you can do!

Bottom line: most of the time, Chinese transliterations are a very, very rough approximation of the sound of the foreign names.

Now, here’s the interesting part:

The Chinese transliterations of foreign names don’t always have to be based on their pronunciation in English. Many names are translated into Chinese in a way that uses the sounds of their original word.

For example, John is called 约翰 (Yuē hàn) in Chinese, which is nothing like the pronunciation of “John” in English. This is because the name “John” itself is derived from the Hebrew name “Yohanan”. So the Chinese translation of John is based on the name’s pronunciation in Hebrew rather than English – hence the translated name 约翰 (Yuē hàn).

In a similar fashion, “Joseph” is translated as 约瑟夫 (Yuē sè fū) in Chinese. It follows the pronunciation of its original Hebrew name “Yosef” instead of the English name “Joseph”.   

Translating Asian Names into Chinese

While most foreign names are translated into Chinese by sound, it’s not the case for every name.

For Asian countries that have historically used Chinese characters, original names in characters are retained in Chinese. 

For example, the famous Japanese artist Yoko Ono is 小野洋子 in Chinese, which is the same as her name written in Japanese Kanji. Since characters are read differently in Japanese and Chinese, 小野洋子 is pronounced “Ono Yōko” in the original Japanese but (Xiǎoyě Yángzǐ) in Chinese.

The same goes for Korean names and Vietnamese names – since both countries had once used a writing system based on Chinese characters, you don’t need to translate the names into Chinese phonetically as you would do with western names.

What Does Your Name Mean in Chinese?

Writing foreign names in Chinese characters has a long history and practical reasons. But do the names in Chinese actually mean anything?

meaning of name in Chinese

Well, most of the time, the method of translating foreign names into Chinese is purely phonetic. Even though the Chinese characters that make up the names have meanings on their own, the conjunction of characters in a transliterated name doesnt mean anything – its just a string of sounds.

For example, Christopher is written as 克里斯多夫 (Kè lǐ sī duō fū) in Chinese. If you take the characters literally, “克-里-斯-多-夫” means “gram-inside-thus-many-man” or “conquer-mile-this-more-husband” (a Chinese character may have many and varied meanings). But just by looking at it, Chinese people will immediately know it’s a foreign name and discard any meanings these characters may have originally had. Obviously, it’s just the phonetic representation of “Ch-ri-s-to-pher”.

That said, since there are so many characters to choose from when transcribing a foreign name, a translator can manipulate the transcription to add additional connotations to the name.

Just as Chinese parents like to choose names that feature characters with auspicious meanings for their babies, characters with negative connotations would be avoided in favor of “elegant” characters with positive or at least neutral meanings for transliteration. It’s nice when a name’s translation makes sense both phonetically and semantically.

For instance, the character 德 (dé), meaning “virtue”, is often used in transliteration to approximate the “d” sound in English names like Dwight – 怀特 ( huái tè) and Gerald – 杰拉 (Jié lā ).

Similarly, the sounds of “t” and “Ge” are represented by 特 (tè) – “exceptional” and 杰 (Jié) – “outstanding”, respectively, in the above names – another two characters with positive meanings.

Additionally, some characters are considered typically masculine or feminine. For guys, this means characters that denote strength or firmness are usually used when transliterating their names into Chinese, and for girls, characters with suggestions of beauty or elegance.

For instance, the feminine name Hannah is 汉娜 (Hàn nà) in Chinese, with the character 娜 (nà) meaning “graceful”, while the masculine name Johnny is 强尼 (Qiáng ní) in Chinese, with 强 (qiáng) meaning “strong”.

For the same reason, a different set of characters may be chosen for transcribing the same syllable or phoneme in foreign names to give the names a distinctly masculine or feminine feel.

Example:

For Johnny – 强尼 (Qiáng ní), a neutral character 尼 (ní) is used to transcribe the “ny” sound in the name, whereas for Jenny – 珍妮 (Zhēn nī), 妮 (nī) – a feminine character is used instead to transcribe the same “ny” sound, implying the name bearer is likely a woman (the radical 女 on the left side of 妮 symbolizes woman).

To further illustrate the point, look at how the gender-neutral name “Ashley” is translated into different Chinese versions based on sex.

  • Ashley (male) → A-sh-ley → 阿什 (Ā shí lì)
  • Ashley (female) → A-sh-ley → 阿什 (Ā shí lì)

The sound “ley” in the male “Ashley” is translated as 利 (lì), a neutral character meaning “benefit”, while in the female version, it’s translated as “莉”, a popular character used in Chinese girl names meaning “Jasmine”.

masculine or feminine name in Chinese

 

Name in Chinese: More Than One Version?

You’ve probably noticed by now that Mandarin Chinese has lots of homophonous characters (having the same pronunciation but different meanings, like the English “deer” and “dear”) due to its limited stock of syllables. So it’s easy to use various combinations of characters to transcribe the same foreign name. In other words, a foreigner may have multiple names in Chinese.

For instance, Chris can be written as 克里丝 as well as 克里斯 – both of them are pronounced (Kè lǐ sī).

And the number of possible transliterations can increase dramatically when a name doesn’t match exactly any Chinese sound and several similar-sounding characters can be considered. 

For instance, Rachel can be 蕾切尔 (Lěi qiè ěr), 瑞吉儿 (Ruì jí ér) and 瑞秋 (Ruì qiū) at the same time since there is no particular character combination that sounds the same as the English “Rachel”.

Interestingly, western celebrities that have the same name are often given different transliterated names in Chinese on purpose as a way of helping Chinese people distinguish one person from another.

Take Trump, for example, the Former US President Donald Trump’s name is translated as 特朗普 (Tè lǎng pǔ) while the English snooker player Judd Trump is referred to as 特鲁姆普 (Tè lǔ mǔ pǔ) on Chinese media.  

How to Write Your Name in Chinese

If you’re learning Chinese, one of the first things you should learn is how to introduce yourself! And you can’t do that unless you know your name in Chinese. So in this section, we’ll teach you the rope of writing your name in Chinese.

write name in Chinese

Writing the Name in Chinese Characters

Here is how you should do it:

1. Break Your Name into Constituent Sounds  

Foreign names are written with Chinese characters that match phonetically with their original sounds. As each character is only one syllable, the first step to writing your name in Chinese is to break your name into its constituent sounds.

Here, you may fall into your first dilemma. Chinese characters must comprise a vowel sound. However, many English names only contain a consonant sound. In this case, you need to add a Chinese vowel to that consonant or between the consonant cluster to make the sound transcribable.

For example,

When saying the name “Francis” in English, the consonant cluster “Fr” is pronounced together without a break. So you need to add a Chinese vowel to the consonant “f”, which in this case is “u” – the closest match to the ending sound of “f”.

The rule also applies to the “s” in “Francis”. You need to add the Chinese vowel “i” (pronounced “ri”) to it to mimic the ending sound of “s”.

So if you want to transcribe the name “Francis”, first you have to break it into “F(u)-ran-ci-s(i)”, making it four syllables, rather than two, in Chinese.

2. Replace the Sounds with Similar-sounding Characters

The next step is to find Chinese characters that correspond to the constituent sounds of your name.

In the case of “Francis”, look for four Chinese characters that sound similar to the four syllables – “F(u)-ran-ci-s(i)”.

Now, to write your name in Chinese, you need to know the basics of characters. The easiest way is to find a character that sounds the same as the syllable. For example, 弗 (Fú) for F(u), and 斯 (sī) for “s(i)”.

Some syllables can’t be directly transferred to Chinese, and you would need to find a similar-sounding character to approximate the sound. For instance, “ran” and “ci” are not sounds that naturally occur in Chinese, so you need to find the closest equivalents you can. In this case, “ran” and “ci” can be approximated by 朗 (lǎng) and 西 (xī), respectively.  

Now, you just need to put the characters together and write 弗朗西斯 (Fú lǎng xī sī) for “Francis”.

3. Use Feminine Characters to Transcribe Girl Names

Just like you can turn the name “Francis” into its female version “Frances” by changing the spelling, you can make a name in Chinese appear more feminine by using feminine characters in the transliteration process.

So, instead of using the neutral character 斯 (sī), meaning “thus”, to approximate the “si” syllable, you can opt for 丝 (sī), which means “silk”. Thus, the girl’s name “Frances” can be written as 弗朗西丝 (Fú lǎng xī sī) in Chinese.

Some other frequently used Chinese characters for transcribing girl names include: 娅 (yà), 玛(mǎ), 丽(lì), 莉(lì), 娜 (nà), 琳 (lín), 莎 (shā), 黛 (dài), 妮 (nī), 薇 (wēi), 莲 (lián), 梅 (méi), 蕾 (lěi) and etc.

4. Turn R-sounds into L-sounds to Fit the Chinese Pronunciation

Because determining which Chinese characters sound most like your name can be something highly subjective, in reality, there are no set ways of writing your name in Chinese. However, there are some popular ways of doing it. (China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency has set some rules which designate that foreign names be written in a certain way to avoid confusion)

For example, if your original name contains an “r+vowel” sound, it’s customary to change it to an “l+vowel” sound for Chinese transliteration. So, Randy becomes Landy – 迪 (Lán dí) and Frank becomes Flank – 弗克 (Fú lán kè).

5. Turn V-sounds into W-sounds

Since Mandarin does not use “v”, you have to replace the “v+vowel” sound in your name with “w+vowel”.  

Examples:

  • Victor – 克多 (Wéi kè duō)
  • Valentina – 伦蒂娜 ( lún dì nà)
  • Olivier – 奥利尔 (Ào lì wéi ěr)

6. Turn “TH” sounds (/ð,θ/) into X-sounds or S-sounds

The consonant cluster “th”, which involves the biting of the tongue, doesn’t exist in Chinese either, so you need to substitute sounds like “x” or “s” that are easier for Chinese people to say.

Examples:

  • Matthew – 马 (Mǎ xiū)
  • Cynthia – 辛西娅 (Xīn  yà)
  • Jonathan – 乔纳 (Qiáo nà sēn)

7. Break up Consonant Clusters

Consonant clusters (e.g. “br”, “cl”, “pr”, etc) don’t exist in Chinese. So you need to split them up into two parts, separating them with two characters. While the last consonant can be transcribed with different characters depending on the subsequent vowel, there is usually a fixed character for the first consonant. Here are some examples:

  • Blair – 莱尔 ( lái ěr)
    Brian – 莱恩 ( lái ēn)
    The “b” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 布 (bù).
  • Claude – 劳德 ( láo dé)
    Craig – 雷格 ( léi gé)
    Chloe – 洛伊 ( luò yī)
    The “c” and “ch” in a consonant cluster are usually translated as 克 (Kè).
  • Bradley – 布莱利 (Bù lái lì)
    Drew – 鲁 ( lǔ)
    The “d” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 德 (dé).
  • Florentino – 洛伦蒂诺 ( luò lún dì nuò)
    Franco – 兰科 ( lán kē)
    The “f” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 弗 (fú).
  • Glen – 伦 ( lún)
    Grace – 蕾丝 ( lěi sī)
    The “g” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 格 (gé).
  • Platt – 拉特 ( lā tè)
    Presley – 莱斯利 ( lái sī lì)
    The “p” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 普 (pǔ).
  • Tlaloc – 拉洛克 ( lā luò kè)
    Tracy – 特蕾西 ( lěi xī)
    The “t” in a consonant cluster is usually translated as 特 (tè).

8. Transcribe the “l” and “lle” at the end of a name as 尔

To write names that end with an “l” or “lle”, you could use 尔 (ěr).

Examples:

  • Michael – 迈克 (Mài kè ěr)
  • Gabrie– 加布里埃 (Jiā bù lǐ āi ěr)
  • Michelle – 米歇(Mǐ xiē ěr)

9. Transcribe the “ia” at the end of a name as either 亚 or 娅

Other tricky names to write in Chinese would be those that end with “ia”. In this case, you could use either 亚 (yà) or 娅 (yà), though the latter is mainly used in girl names.

  • Mattia – 马蒂 (Mǎ dì )
  • Victoria – 维多利/维多利 (Wéi duō lì )
  • Olivia – 奥利维/奥利维 (Ào lì wéi )

Writing Your Full Name

Since Chinese lacks spacing between characters, when writing both first and last names together in Chinese, the names should be separated by an interpunct (a centered dot) to make it clear that you are writing a full name.

For example, Mark Twain (Mar-k T-wain) would be written as 马克·吐温 (Mǎ kè · Tǔ wēn), and Stephen King (S-te-phen King) would be written as 斯蒂芬·金 (Sī dì fēn · Jīn).

As for the order of names in Chinese, stick to the Western practice, that is, write your first name in Chinese first, then your middle name (if you have one), and finally your last name. You don’t need to reverse your names to conform to the Chinese name pattern where the family name is placed before the given name. Essentially, you are just transcribing your name with Chinese characters, not writing a Chinese name per se.

Find Your Name in Chinese

While a name can have multiple possible transcriptions in Chinese, if you have a fairly common name, then chances are there’s already a standard way of writing your name in characters that Chinese people are familiar with, so you don’t have to get all creative with character selection.

Below, we list the official, standard Chinese translations of foreign names used by mainstream media and publications in China, along with their common variant forms.

foreign names in Chinese

English Names in Chinese

We’ll start with the most common English names. They are translated into Chinese characters that are phonetically similar to the original name, without necessarily being very meaningful. The transliteration of “David”, for example, is 大卫 (Dà wèi), literally – “big guard”.

Common Male English Names in Chinese

Here’s the list of the top 100 English names for boys written in Chinese characters, along with Pinyin pronunciation. Looking at these will help you figure out how your name should be pronounced in Chinese as well!

English Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
James 詹姆斯 Zhān mǔ sī  
Robert 罗伯特 Luó bó tè  
John 约翰 Yuē hàn  
Michael 迈克尔 Mài kè ěr  
William 威廉 Wēi lián  
David 大卫 Dà wèi 戴维
Richard 理查德 Lǐ chá dé  
Joseph 约瑟夫 Yuē sè fū  
Thomas 托马斯 Tuō mǎ sī  
Charles      查尔斯 Chá ěr sī  
Christopher 克里斯托弗 Kè lǐ sī tuō fú 克里斯多夫
Daniel 丹尼尔 Dān ní ěr  
Matthew 马修 Mǎ xiū  
Anthony 安东尼 Ān dōng ní  
Mark 马克 Mǎ kè 马可
Donald 唐纳德 Táng nà dé  
Steven 史蒂文 Shǐ dì wén 斯蒂文
Paul 保罗 Bǎo luó 保尔
Andrew 安德鲁 Ān dé lǔ  
Joshua       约书亚 Yuē shū yà 乔舒亚
Kenneth 肯尼斯 Kěn ní sī  
Kevin 凯文 Kǎi wén  
Brian 布莱恩 Bù lái ēn 布瑞恩; 布里安
George 乔治 Qiáo zhì  
Edward 爱德华 Ài dé huá  
Ronald 罗纳德 Luó nà dé 罗纳尔
Timothy 蒂莫西 Dì mò xī 提摩太
Jason 杰森 Jié sēn  
Jeffrey 杰弗里 Jié fú lǐ 杰弗瑞
Ryan         瑞恩 Ruì ēn 赖安; 里安
Jacob 雅各布 Yǎ gè bù  
Gary 加里 Jiā lǐ 盖瑞
Nicolas 尼古拉斯 Ní gǔ lā sī  
Eric 埃里克 Āi lǐ kè 艾瑞克
Jonathan 乔纳森 Qiáo nà sēn  
Stephen 史蒂芬 Shǐ dì fēn 斯蒂芬
Larry 拉里 Lā lǐ  
Justin 贾斯丁 Jiǎ sī dīng 贾斯汀
Scott 斯科特 Sī kē tè  
Brandon     布兰登 Bù lán dēng 布兰顿
Benjamin 本杰明 Běn jié míng  
Samuel 塞缪尔 Sài miù ěr 萨缪尔; 萨穆埃尔
Gregory 格里高利 Gé lǐ gāo lì  
Frank 弗兰克 Fú lán kè  
Alexander 亚历山大 Yà lì shān dà  
Raymond 雷蒙德 Léi méng dé  
Patrick 帕特里克 Pà tè lǐ kè  
Jack 杰克 Jié kè  
Dennis 丹尼斯 Dān ní sī  
Jerry     杰瑞 Jié ruì  
Tyler 泰勒 Tài lè  
Aaron 亚伦 Yà lún 艾伦
Jose 何塞 Hé sài 约瑟; 荷西
Adam 亚当 Yà dāng  
Henry 亨利 Hēng lì  
Nathan 内森 Nèi sēn 南森
Douglas 道格拉斯 Dào gé lā sī  
Zachary 扎克瑞 Zhā kè ruì 扎卡里
Peter 彼得 Bǐ dé  
Kyle     凯尔 Kǎi ěr  
Walter 沃尔特 Wò ěr tè 瓦尔特
Ethan 伊桑 Yī sāng 伊森
Jeremy 杰里米 Jié lǐ mǐ 杰瑞米
Harold 哈罗德 Hā luó dé  
Keith 凯斯 Kǎi sī 基斯; 基思
Christian 克里斯蒂安 Kè lǐ sī dì ān 克里斯丁
Roger 罗杰 Luó jié  
Noah 诺亚 Nuò yà  
Gerald 杰拉德 Jié lā dé 杰拉尔德
Carl     卡尔 Kǎ ěr  
Terry 特里 Tè lǐ 特瑞
Sean 肖恩 Xiāo ēn  
Austin 奥斯丁 Ào sī dīng 奥斯汀
Arthur 亚瑟 Yà sè  
Lawrence 劳伦斯 Láo lún sī  
Jesse 杰西 Jié xī  
Dylan 迪伦 Dí lún 狄伦
Bryan 布莱恩 Bù lái ēn 布赖恩
Joe Qiáo  
Jordan 乔丹 Qiáo dān  
Billy 比利 Bǐ lì  
Bruce 布鲁斯 Bù lǔ sī  
Albert 阿尔伯特 Ā ěr bó tè  
Willie 威利 Wēi lì  
Gabriel 加布里埃尔 Jiā bù lǐ āi ěr  
Logan 罗根 Luó gēn 洛根
Alan 阿伦 Ā lún 阿兰
Juan 胡安 Hú ān  
Wayne 韦恩 Wéi ēn  
Roy 罗伊 Luó yī  
Ralph 拉尔夫 Lā ěr fū 拉夫
Randy 兰迪 Lán dí  
Eugene 尤金 Yóu jīn  
Vincent 文森特 Wén sēn tè  
Russel 罗素 Luó sù 拉塞尔
Elijah 伊利亚 Yī lì yà 伊莱贾
Louis 路易斯 Lù yì sī  
Bobby 博比 Bó bǐ 波比; 鲍比
Philip 菲利普 Fēi lì pǔ  
Johnny 约翰尼 Yuē hàn ní 强尼

Common Female English Names in Chinese

As for the translations of female English names, elegant characters reflecting feminine attributes are often used to transcribe the names. Some top occurring characters in female names include 丽 (lì) – “beautiful”, 莉 (lì) – “Jasmine”, 娜 (nà) – “graceful”, 妮 (nī) – “young girl”, and 琳 (lín) – “beautiful jade”.

Here’s the list of the 100 most common English names for girls written in Chinese.

English Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
Mary 玛丽 Mǎ lì 玛莉
Patricia 帕特里西娅 Pà tè lì xià 帕特丽夏; 派翠西亚
Jennifer 珍妮佛 Zhēn nī fú 詹妮弗
Linda 琳达 Lín dá  
Elizabeth 伊丽莎白 Yī lì shā bái  
Barbara 芭芭拉 Bā bā lā  
Susan 苏珊 Sū shān  
Jessica 杰西卡 Jié xī kǎ 杰茜卡; 洁西卡
Sarah 莎拉 Shā lā 萨拉
Karen   凯伦 Kǎi lún  
Nancy 南希 Nán xī  
Lisa 丽莎 Lì shā 丽萨
Betty 贝蒂 Bèi dì  
Margaret 玛格丽特 Mǎ gé lì tè  
Sandra 桑德拉 Sāng dé lā  
Ashley 阿什莉 Ā shí lì 艾希礼
Kimberly 金伯莉 Jīn bó lì 金伯利
Emily 艾米莉 Ài mǐ lì 艾米丽
Donna 唐娜 Táng nà  
Michelle    米歇尔 Mǐ xiē ěr 米雪儿; 蜜雪儿
Dorothy 多萝西 Duō luó xī 桃乐西
Carol 卡萝尔 Kǎ luó ěr 卡罗尔; 卡洛尔
Amanda 阿曼达 Ā màn dá  
Melissa 梅丽莎 Méi lì shā  
Deborah 黛博拉 Dài bó lā 底波拉
Stephanie 史黛芙妮 Shǐ dài fú nī 斯蒂芬妮
Rebecca 丽贝卡 Lì bèi kǎ 瑞贝卡
Sharon 莎伦 Shā lún 莎朗; 雪伦
Laura 劳拉 Láo lā  
Cynthia    辛西娅 Xīn xī yà  
Kathleen   凯瑟琳 Kǎi sè lín 凯思琳
Amy 艾米 Ài mǐ  
Shirley 雪莉 Xuě lì  
Angela 安吉拉 Ān jí lā  
Helen 海伦 Hǎi lún  
Anna 安娜 Ān nà  
Brenda 布兰达 Bù lán dá 布伦达
Pamela 帕梅拉 Pà méi lā 帕米拉
Nicole 妮可 Nī kě 尼科尔
Emma    艾玛 Ài mǎ 爱玛
Samantha 萨曼莎 Sà màn shā  
Katherine 凯瑟琳 Kǎi sè lín 凯萨琳
Christine 克里斯蒂娜 Kè lǐ sī dì nà 克里斯汀
Debra 黛博拉 Dài bó lā 黛布拉
Rachel 蕾切尔 Lěi qiè ěr 瑞吉儿; 瑞秋
Catherine 凯瑟琳 Kǎi sè lín 凯萨琳
Carolyn 卡洛琳 Kǎ luò lín 卡罗琳
Janet 珍妮特 Zhēn nī tè  
Ruth 露丝 Lù sī 鲁斯
Maria 玛丽亚 Mǎ lì yà 玛莉亚; 玛丽娅
Heather 希瑟 Xī sè 海瑟
Diane 戴安娜 Dài ān nà 戴安; 黛安娜
Virginia 弗吉尼亚 Fú jí ní yà  
Julie 朱莉 Zhū lì 朱丽
Joyce 乔伊斯 Qiáo yī sī  
Victoria 维多利亚 Wéi duō lì yà 维多利娅
Olivia 奥利维亚 Ào lì wéi yà 奥利维娅
Kelly 凯丽 Kǎi lì 凯莉
Christina 克里斯蒂娜 Kè lǐ sī dì nà  
Lauren    劳伦 Láo lún  
Joan Qióng  
Evelyn 伊芙琳 Yī fú lín 伊夫林
Judith 朱迪思 Zhū dí sī 朱迪斯; 茱蒂丝
Megan 梅根 Méi gēn  
Cheryl 谢丽尔 Xiè lì ěr 谢莉尔
Andrea 安德莉亚 Ān dé lì yà 安德烈娅
Hannah 汉娜 Hàn nà  
Martha 玛莎 Mǎ shā  
Jacqueline 杰奎琳 Jié kuí lín  
Frances   弗朗西丝 Fú lǎng xī sī 弗兰西丝
Gloria 格罗丽娅 Gé luó lì yà 歌莉娅
Ann Ān  
Teresa 特蕾莎 Tè lěi shā 特丽莎
Kathryn 凯瑟琳 Kǎi sè lín 凯思琳
Sara 莎拉 Shā lā 萨拉
Janice 珍妮丝 Zhēn nī sī 詹妮丝
Jean Zhēn 吉恩
Alice 爱丽丝 Ài lì sī 爱丽斯; 艾莉丝
Madison 麦迪逊 Mài dí xùn  
Doris 多丽丝 Duō lì sī 桃瑞丝
Abigail 阿比盖尔 Ā bǐ gài ěr  
Julia 茱莉亚 Zhū lì yà 茱莉娅
Judy 朱迪 Zhū dí  
Grace 格蕾丝 Gé lěi sī  
Denise 丹妮丝 Dān nī sī 丹妮斯
Amber 艾梅柏 Ài méi bó 安柏
Marilyn 玛丽莲 Mǎ lì lián 玛莉莲
Beverly 贝弗莉 Bèi fú lì 贝弗利
Danielle 丹妮尔 Dān nī ěr  
Theresa 特蕾莎 Tè lěi shā 特丽莎
Sophia 索菲亚 Suǒ fēi yà 索菲娅
Marie 玛丽 Mǎ lì 玛莉
Diana 戴安娜 Dài ān nà 黛安娜
Brittany 布里特妮 Bù lǐ tè nī 布里塔妮; 布列塔尼
Natalie 娜塔莉 Nà tǎ lì 娜塔丽
Isabella 伊莎贝拉 Yī shā bèi lā  
Charlotte 夏洛特 Xià luò tè  
Rose 露丝 Lù sī 萝丝
Alexis 亚历克西斯 Yà lì kè xī sī 阿莱克西斯
Kayla 凯拉 Kǎi lā  

Spanish Names in Chinese

Although in the majority of cases, the Chinese characters which are used to transcribe a certain name hardly change at all between Spanish to Chinese and English to Chinese, there are other occasions when there is a big difference which makes the name almost unrecognizable if you do not know already how the name is pronounced in original Spanish.

For instance,

The Spanish name “Jorge” is translated as 豪尔赫 (Háo ěr hè) in Chinese based on its Spanish pronunciation, while an Englishman named “Jorge” would be called 乔治 (Qiáo zhì) instead since English speakers would say “George” for “Jorge”.

Now, learn your Chinese name with this list of common Spanish names and their Chinese translations. They’re ordered by gender and popularity and are translated into Chinese based on the Spanish pronunciation.

Spanish Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
José 何塞 Hé sài 约瑟; 荷西
Luis 路易斯 Lù yì sī  
Carlos 卡洛斯 Kǎ luò sī  
Juan 胡安 Hú ān  
Jorge 豪尔赫 Háo ěr hè 乔治
Pedro 佩德罗 Pèi dé luó  
Jesús 赫苏斯 Hè sū sī  
Manuel 曼努埃尔 Màn nǔ āi ěr 马努埃尔
Santiago 圣地亚哥 Shèng dì yà gē 桑蒂亚哥
Sebastián 塞巴斯蒂安 Sài bā sī dì ān 塞巴斯汀
Matías 马蒂亚斯 Mǎ dì yà sī  
Nicolás 尼古拉斯 Ní gǔ lā sī  
Samuel 塞缪尔 Sài miù ěr 萨缪尔; 萨穆埃尔
Alejandro 亚历杭德罗 Yà lì háng dé luó 亚历山大
Mateo 马特奥 Mǎ tè ào 马蒂奥
Diego 迭戈 Dié gē  
Benjamín 本杰明 Běn jié míng  
Daniel 丹尼尔 Dān ní ěr  
Joaquín 华金 Huá jīn  
Tomás 托马斯 Tuō mǎ sī  
Pablo 巴勃罗 Bā bó luó  
Lucas 卢卡斯 Lú kǎ sī  
Martín 马丁 Mǎ dīng  
Emmanuel 埃曼努埃尔 Āi màn nǔ āi ěr 伊曼纽尔
Alexander 亚历山大 Yà lì shān dà  
Sofía 索菲亚 Suǒ fēi yà 索菲娅
Valentina 瓦伦蒂娜 Wǎ lún dì nà  
Isabella 伊莎贝拉 Yī shā bèi lā  
Camila 卡米拉 Kǎ mǐ lā  
Valeria 瓦莱里娅 Wǎ lái lǐ yà 瓦乐瑞亚
Mariana 玛丽安娜 Mǎ lì ān nà 玛莉安娜
Gabriela 加布里埃拉 Jiā bù lǐ āi lā  
Sara 莎拉 Shā lā 萨拉
Daniella 丹妮埃拉 Dān nī āi lā 丹妮拉; 达尼埃拉
María José 玛丽亚·何塞 Mǎ lì yà · Hé sài 玛莉亚·何塞
Victoria 维多利亚 Wéi duō lì yà  
Martina 玛蒂娜 Mǎ dì nà  
Luciana 露西安娜 Lù xī ān nà 卢西亚娜
Ximena 西梅娜 Xī méi nà 西米娜
María Fernanda 玛丽亚·费尔南达 Mǎ lì yà · Fèi ěr nán dá 玛莉亚·费尔南达
Lucía 露西亚 Lù xī yà 卢西亚, 露西娅
Natalia 娜塔莉亚 Nà tǎ lì yà 纳塔莉亚
Catalina 卡塔琳娜 Kǎ tǎ lín nà 卡特琳娜
Mía 米亚 Mǐ yà 米娅
Fernanda 费尔南达 Fèi ěr nán dá  
Nicole 妮可 Nī kě 尼科尔
Julieta 茱莉塔 Zhū lì tǎ 朱丽塔
Abril 阿比蕊儿 Ā bǐ ruǐ ér 阿布里
Samantha 萨曼莎 Sà màn shā  
Paula 宝拉 Bǎo lā 保拉

French Names in Chinese

Below is a list of the most common French names translated into Chinese by pronunciation, ordered by popularity.

As with English names, different characters have been assigned to reflect the pronunciation of the French name, of which some are officially endorsed by Xinhua News Agency and others organically occurred back when French novels were first translated into Chinese (prior to the founding of PRC).

For instance, the first name of the French actor Jean Reno is translated as 让 (Ràng) in Chinese, while the “Jean” in “Jean Valjean”, the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables, is translated as 冉 (Rǎn).

French Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
Jean Ràng 尚; 冉
Marie 玛丽 Mǎ lì 玛莉
Michel 米歇尔 Mǐ xiē ěr  
Claude 克劳德 Kè láo dé 克洛德
Dominique 多米尼克 Duō mǐ ní kè 多米妮可 (female)
Philippe 菲利普 Fēi lì pǔ  
Francis 弗朗西斯 Fú lǎng xī sī  
Pierre 皮埃尔 Pí āi ěr  
Alain 阿兰 Ā lán  
Nathalie 娜塔莉 Nà tǎ lì 娜塔丽
Bernard 伯纳德 Bó nà dé 贝尔纳德
Isabelle 伊莎贝尔 Yī shā bèi ěr  
Andre 安德烈 Ān dé liè 安德列
Patrick 帕特里克 Pà tè lǐ kè  
Catherine 凯瑟琳 Kǎi sè lín 凯萨琳
Daniel 丹尼尔 Dān ní ěr  
Jacques 雅克 Yǎ kè 贾克
Sylvie 西尔维 Xī ěr wéi 希尔薇
Christian 克里斯蒂安 Kè lǐ sī dì ān 克里斯丁
Eric 埃里克 Āi lǐ kè 艾瑞克
Thierry 蒂埃里 Dì āi lǐ  
Christophe 克里斯托弗 Kè lǐ sī tuō fú 克里斯多夫
Laurent 劳伦特 Láo lún tè 劳伦; 罗朗
Pascal 帕斯卡 Pà sī kǎ  
Rene 雷内 Léi nèi 蕾妮 (female)
Monique 莫妮克 Mò nī kè 莫尼克
Christine 克里斯蒂娜 Kè lǐ sī dì nà 克里斯汀
Joseph 约瑟夫 Yuē sè fū  
Olivier 奥利维尔 Ào lì wéi ěr 奥利维耶; 奥利维埃
Martine 玛蒂娜 Mǎ dì nà  
Anne 安妮 Ān nī  
Nicolas 尼古拉斯 Ní gǔ lā sī  
Robert 罗伯特 Luó bó tè  
Sandrine 桑德琳 Sāng dé lín  
Valerie 瓦莱丽 Wǎ lái lì 瓦莱莉
Jean-Pierre 让·皮埃尔 Ràng · Pí āi ěr 尚·皮埃尔
David 大卫 Dà wèi 戴维
Jacqueline 杰奎琳 Jié kuí lín  
Roger 罗杰 Luó jié  
Sophie 索菲 Suǒ fēi 苏菲
Guy 居伊 Jū yī  
Jean-Claude 让·克劳德 Ràng · Kè láo dé 尚·克劳德
Didier 迪迪埃 Dí dí āi 迪迪尔
Bruno 布鲁诺 Bù lǔ nuò  
Nicole 妮可 Nī kě 尼科尔
Marcel 马塞尔 Mǎ sài ěr  
Marc 马克 Mǎ kè 马可
Yves 伊夫 Yī fū  
Georges 乔治 Qiáo zhì  
Serge 塞尔吉 Sài ěr jí 瑟杰

German Names in Chinese

All German names can be rendered into Chinese sounds and assigned their characters too. Below is a collection of the most common German names for males and females written in Chinese characters, complete with Pinyin Romanization and their common variant forms.

German Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
Peter 彼得 Bǐ dé  
Michael 迈克尔 Mài kè ěr  
Wolfgang 沃夫冈 Wò fū gāng 沃尔夫冈
Thomas 托马斯 Tuō mǎ sī  
Klaus 克劳斯 Kè láo sī  
Werner 维尔纳 Wéi ěr nà 沃纳
Manfred 曼弗雷德 Màn fú léi dé 曼菲德
Ursula 厄休拉 È xiū lā 乌苏拉
Maria 玛丽亚 Mǎ lì yà 玛莉亚
Hans 汉斯 Hàn sī  
Heinz 海因茨 Hǎi yīn cí 海因兹
Andreas 安德烈亚斯 Ān dé liè yà sī 安德烈斯
Jürgen 尤尔根 Yóu ěr gēn  
Monika 莫妮卡 Mò nī kǎ 莫尼卡
Helmut 赫尔穆特 Hè ěr mù tè 海尔姆特
Gerhard 格哈德 Gé hā dé 格哈特
Petra 佩特拉 Pèi tè lā  
Günter 君特 Jūn tè 金特
Renate 蕾娜特 Lěi nà tè 雷纳特
Helga 海尔格 Hǎi ěr gé 赫尔加
Karin 卡琳 Kǎ lín 卡林
Dieter 迪特尔 Dí tè ěr 迪特
Horst 霍斯特 Huò sī tè  
Sabine 萨比娜 Sà bǐ nà  
Brigitte 布丽奇特 Bù lì qí tè 布里吉特
Josef 约瑟夫 Yuē sè fū  
Ingrid 英格丽 Yīng gé lì 英格丽德
Elisabeth 伊丽莎白 Yī lì shā bái  
Frank 弗兰克 Fú lán kè  
Andrea 安德莉亚 Ān dé lì yà 安德烈娅
Gisela 吉塞拉 Jí sài lā  
Walter 沃尔特 Wò ěr tè 瓦尔特
Bernd 伯恩德 Bó ēn dé 贝恩德
Erika 艾莉卡 Ài lì kǎ 艾丽卡
Karl 卡尔 Kǎ ěr  
Christa 克丽斯塔 Kè lì sī tǎ 克里斯塔
Claudia 克劳迪娅 Kè láo dí yà 克劳蒂娅
Herbert 赫伯特 Hè bó tè 贺伯特; 赫尔伯特
Martin 马丁 Mǎ dīng  
Birgit 比吉特 Bǐ jí tè  
Christine 克里斯蒂娜 Kè lǐ sī dì nà 克里斯汀
Susanne 苏珊娜 Sū shān nà  
Christian 克里斯蒂安 Kè lǐ sī dì ān 克里斯丁
Stefan 史蒂芬 Shǐ dì fēn 斯蒂芬; 史提芬
Heike 海可 Hǎi kě  
Franz 弗兰兹 Fú lán zī 弗朗兹; 弗朗茨
Elke 埃尔克 Āi ěr kè  
Uwe 乌韦 Wū wéi  
Barbara 芭芭拉 Bā bā lā  
Karl-Heinz 卡尔·海因茨 Kǎ ěr · Hǎi yīn cí 卡尔·海因兹

Italian Names in Chinese

And finally, for our Italian readers, here’s a list of the most popular Italian names written in Chinese. You can see that the characters selected to transcribe the names are aimed to produce a close approximation in sound to their Italian originals.

German Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation Common Variants
Leonardo 莱昂纳多 Lái áng nà duō 李奥纳多
Francesco 弗朗切斯科 Fú lǎng xī sī kē 弗朗西斯科
Alessandro 亚历桑德罗 Yà lì sāng dé luó 亚历山德罗
Lorenzo 洛伦佐 Luò lún zuǒ  
Mattia 马蒂亚 Mǎ dì yà  
Andrea 安德烈 Ān dé liè 安德列
Gabriele 加布里埃尔 Jiā bù lǐ āi ěr  
Riccardo 里卡多 Lǐ kǎ duō  
Tommaso 托马索 Tuō mǎ suǒ  
Edoardo 爱德华多 Ài dé huá duō  
Marco 马可 Mǎ kě 马科
Giuseppe 朱塞佩 Zhū sài pèi 乔治白
Flavio 弗拉维奥 Fú lā wéi ào  
Luca 卢卡 Lú kǎ  
Giovanni 乔瓦尼 Qiáo wǎ ní 乔凡尼; 吉奥瓦尼
Roberto 罗伯托 Luó bó tuō  
Stefano 斯蒂法诺 Sī dì fǎ nuò 史蒂芬劳
Angelo 安杰洛 Ān jié luò 安吉洛
Mario 马里奥 Mǎ lǐ ào  
Luigi 路易吉 Lù yì jí 路易基
Antonio 安东尼奥 Ān dōng ní ào  
Vincenzo 文森佐 Wén sēn zuǒ  
Pietro 彼得罗 Bǐ dé luó  
Salvotore 塞尔瓦托 Sài ěr wǎ tuō 萨尔瓦托
Carlo 卡罗 Kǎ luó 卡洛
Sophia 索菲亚 Suǒ fēi yà 索菲娅
Guilia 茱莉亚 Zhū lì yà 茱莉娅
Aurora 奥萝拉 Ào luó lā 欧若拉
Alice 爱丽丝 Ài lì sī 爱丽斯; 艾莉丝
Ginevra 吉妮弗拉 Jí nī fú lā 吉内芙拉
Emma 艾玛 Ài mǎ 爱玛
Giorgia 乔治娅 Qiáo zhì yà 乔琪亚
Greta 格蕾塔 Gé lěi tǎ  
Beatrice 比阿特丽斯 Bǐ ā tè lì sī 碧翠斯
Anna 安娜 Ān nà  
Maria 玛丽亚 Mǎ lì yà 玛莉亚
Sara 莎拉 Shā lā 萨拉
Laura 劳拉 Láo lā  
Valentina 瓦伦蒂娜 Wǎ lún dì nà  
Rosa 罗莎 Luó shā 罗萨
Gianna 吉安娜 Jí ān nà  
Giuseppina 朱塞平娜 Zhū sài píng nà  
Angela 安吉拉 Ān jí lā  
Giovanna 乔凡娜 Qiáo fán nà  
Stella 斯特拉 Sī tè lā  
Teresa 特蕾莎 Tè lěi shā 特丽莎
Lucia 露西亚 Lù xī yà 露西娅; 卢西亚
Carmela 卡梅拉 Kǎ méi lā 卡蜜拉
Caterina 卡特琳娜 Kǎ tè lín nà 卡泰丽娜
Francesca 弗朗切丝卡 Fú lǎng xī sī kǎ 弗朗西丝卡

Name in Chinese Converter

If your name is not popular enough to crack the top name lists, or, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can use an online name tool to convert your name into Chinese. Chinese Gratis, for example, can autogenerate a name in Chinese for you instantly after you input your name on their web page.

The good thing about the tool is that it allows you to submit your gender as well as the linguistic origin of your name, thus you can get a gender-appropriate name in Chinese based on the pronunciation of your name in your native language.

But remember, whichever name converter you use (and however reliable it claims to be), you must check your name in Chinese with a native speaker. Even though the Chinese transliteration is aimed to stay as close as possible to the original pronunciation of your name, some character combinations autogenerated by the systems just sound weird for Chinese people. Plus, since Chinese characters have multiple meanings, it’s hard to avoid amusing coincidences, especially when your name is long and uncommon. So, double-check with native speakers to be sure!  

Bonus: Western Celebrities’ Names in Chinese

celebrity names in Chinese

From political leaders to sports stars, did you know that Chinese media has given an official Chinese name to each and every one of the influential western celebrities? Find out how to say and write the names of the world’s most famous people in Chinese with the help of the chart below.   

English Name Name in Chinese Pinyin Pronunciation
Donald Trump 唐纳德·特朗普 Táng nà dé · Tè lǎng pǔ
Joe Biden 乔·拜登 Qiáo · Bài dēng
Kamala Harris 卡玛拉·哈里斯 Kǎ mǎ lā · Hā lǐ sī
Barack Obama 贝拉克·奥巴马 Bèi lā kè · Ào bā mǎ
Boris Johnson 鲍里斯·约翰逊 Bào lǐ sī · Yuē hàn xùn
Bill Gates 比尔·盖茨 Bǐ ěr · Gài cí
Elon Musk 埃隆·马斯克 Āi lóng · Mǎ sī kè
Steve Jobs 史蒂夫·乔布斯 Shǐ dì fū · Qiáo bù sī
Mark Zuckerberg 马克·扎克伯格 Mǎ kè · Zhā kè bó gé
Jeff Bezos 杰夫·贝索斯 Jié fū · Bèi suǒ sī
Anthony Fauci 安东尼·福奇 Ān dōng ní · Fú qí
Stephen Hawking 斯蒂芬·霍金 Sī dì fēn · Huò jīn
Stephen Spielberg 史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格 Shǐ dì wén · Sī pí ěr bó gé
Tom Hanks 汤姆·汉克斯 Tāng mǔ · Hàn kè sī
Tom Cruise 汤姆·克鲁斯 Tāng mǔ · Kè lǔ sī
Brad Pitt 布拉德·皮特 Bù lā dé · Pí tè
Hugh Jackman 休·杰克曼 Xiū · Jié kè màn
Leonardo DiCaprio 莱昂纳多·迪卡普里奥 Lái áng nà duō · Dí kǎ pǔ lǐ ào
Ben Affleck 本·阿弗莱克 Běn · Ā fú lái kè
Benedict Cumberbatch 本尼迪克特·康伯巴奇 Běn ní dí kè tè · Kāng bó bā qí
Robert Downey Jr. 小罗伯特·唐尼 xiǎo Luó bó tè · Táng ní
Johnny Depp 约翰尼·德普 Yuē hàn ní · Dé pǔ
Goerge Clooney 乔治·克鲁尼 Qiáo zhì · Kè lǔ ní
Dwayne Johnson 道恩·强森 Dào ēn · Qiáng sēn
Will Smith 威尔·史密斯 Wēi ěr · Shǐ mì sī
Kayne West 坎耶·维斯特 Kǎn yé · Wéi sī tè
Justin Bieber 贾斯汀·比伯 Jiǎ sī tīng · Bǐ bó
Justin Timberlake 贾斯汀·汀布莱克 Jiǎ sī tīng · Tīng bù lái kè
Oprah Winfrey 奥普拉·温弗瑞 Ào pǔ lā · Wēn fú ruì
Jennifer Aniston 詹妮弗·安妮斯顿 Zhān nī fú · Ān nī sī dùn
Jennifer Lopez 詹妮弗·洛佩兹 Zhān nī fú · Luò pèi zī
Taylor Swift 泰勒·斯威夫特 Tài lè · Sī wēi fū tè
Adele 阿黛尔 Ā dài ěr
Rihanna 蕾哈娜 Lěi hā nà
Beyoncé 碧昂丝 Bì áng sī
Anne Hathaway 安妮·海瑟薇 Ān nī · hǎi sè wēi
Angelina Jolie 安吉丽娜·朱莉 Ān jí lì nà · Zhū lì
Nicole Kidman 妮可·基德曼 Nī kě · Jī dé màn
Emma Stone 艾玛·斯通 Ài mǎ · Sī tōng
Emma Watson 艾玛·沃特森 Ài mǎ · Wò tè sēn
Scarlett Johanssen 斯嘉丽·约翰逊 Sī jiā lì · Yuē hàn xùn
Sophie Marceau 苏菲·玛索 Sū fēi · Mǎ suǒ
Britney Spears 布兰妮·斯皮尔斯 Bù lán nī · Sī pí ěr sī
Kim Kardashian 金·卡戴珊 Jīn · Kǎ dài shān
Kylie Jenner 凯莉·詹娜 Kǎi lì · Zhān nà
Billie Eilish 比莉·艾利什 Bǐ lì · Ài lì shí
Ariana Grande 爱莉安娜·格兰德 Ài lì ān nà · Gé lán dé
Selena Gomez 赛琳娜·戈麦斯 Sài lín nà · Gē mài sī
Kate Perry 凯蒂·佩里 Kǎi dì · Pèi lǐ
Demi Lavato 黛米·洛瓦托 Dài mǐ · Luò wǎ tuō
David Beckham 大卫·贝克汉姆 Dà wèi · Bèi kè hàn mǔ
Leo Messi 里奥·梅西 Lǐ ào · Méi xī
Christiano Ronaldo 克里斯蒂亚诺·罗纳尔多 Kè lǐ sī dì yà nuò · Luó nà ěr duō
Neymar 内马尔 Nèi mǎ ěr
Michael Jordan 迈克尔·乔丹 Mài kè ěr · Qiáo dān
Mike Tyson 迈克·泰森 Mài kè · Tài sēn 
LeBron James 勒布朗·詹姆斯 Lè bù lǎng · Zhān mǔ sī
Tom Brady 汤姆·布雷迪 Tāng mǔ · Bù léi dí
Roger Federer 罗杰·费德勒 Luó jié · Fèi dé lè
Usain Bolt 尤塞恩·博尔特 Yóu sāi ēn · Bó ěr tè

Different Names in Chinese: Mainland China vs Hong Kong vs Taiwan

China vs Hong Kong vs Taiwan

So far, we’ve been looking at how the foreign names are said and written in standard Mandarin used in Mainland China. Although the languages spoken in Hong Kong (Cantonese) and Taiwan (Taiwanese Mandarin) are of the same origin, there are substantial differences in many name translations between the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan due to the different historical and cultural backgrounds and the influence of dialects.

For example, different names are given to these people on Chinese-language media platforms in the three regions:

  • Ronaldo
    Mainland China: 罗纳尔多 (Luó nà ěr duō)
    Hong Kong: 郎拿度 (Láng ná dù)
    Taiwan: 郎拿度 (Láng ná dù)
  • Reagon
    Mainland China: 里根 (Lǐ gēn)
    Hong Kong: 列根 (Liè gēn)
    Taiwan: 雷根 (Léi gēn)
  • Mrs Thatcher
    Mainland China: 撒切尔夫人 (Sā qiè ěr fūrén)
    Hong Kong: 戴卓尔夫人 (Dài zhuó ěr fūrén)
    Taiwan: 柴契尔夫人 (Chái qì ěr fūrén)

In Mainland China, transcription of foreign names has been standardized by the Proper Names and Translation Service of the state-run Xinhua News Agency. There is a “palette” of about 500 pre-selected Chinese characters to choose from – ones that are recognizable and inoffensive.

Generally, there are two characteristics in the translation of foreign name in mainland China:

1. Chinese surnames are typically avoided, and only transliteration is used. Therefore, very few names begin with a common Chinese surname. In doing so, the name maintains a “foreign favor” to it, making it easier for people to identify that it’s a foreign name. 

2. Neutral characters are favored when translating famous people’s names, and combinations of characters that can easily form special meanings are avoided. For instance, 尼克松 (Ní kè sōng) – Nixon, 克林顿 (Kè lín dùn) – Clinton, 肯尼迪 (Kěn ní dí) – Kennedy – the characters chosen to form these names are all very neutral, and the character combinations don’t convey any actual meaning.  

Hong Kong and Taiwan are different.

First of all, Chinese surnames are often included in foreign names, even though they don’t bear too much resemblance to the original sounds. 

For example, Hong Kong gave Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair a very Chinese-sounding name “彭雪玲 Peng Xueling” (彭 is a common Chinese surname). Taiwan has adopted the same approach, giving Barack Obama a typical Chinese surname 欧 (Ōu) and name him 欧巴马 (Ōu bā mǎ). (In mainland China, Obama is called 奥巴马 Ào Bā Mǎ, and 奥 is not a Chinese surname).

Secondly, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, some syllables in names are dropped entirely during the translation process for brevity, while in mainland China, you can almost expect every syllable or phoneme to be fully pronounced.

Compare the different Chinese versions of these names:

  • Donald Trump
    Mainland China: 唐纳德·特朗普 (Táng nà dé · Tè lǎng pǔ)
    Hong Kong: 唐纳·川普 (Táng nà · Chuān pǔ)
    Taiwan: 唐纳·川普 (Táng nà · Chuān pǔ)
  • Johnson
    Mainland China: 约翰逊 (Yuē hàn xùn)
    Hong Kong: 詹森 (Zhān sēn)
    Taiwan: 詹森 (Zhān sēn)
  • Eisenhower
    Mainland China: 艾森豪威尔 (Ài sēn háo wēi ěr)
    Hong Kong: 艾森豪 (Ài sēn háo)
    Taiwan: 艾森豪 (Ài sēn háo)

Thirdly, for famous female figures, Hong Kong and Taiwan tend to adopt feminine names. For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan translate the name of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary (Clinton) as 希拉蕊 (Xī lā ruǐ), with 蕊 (ruǐ) meaning “flower bud”, and Michelle (Obama) as 蜜雪儿 (Mì xuě ér), with 蜜雪 (mì xuě) meaning “honeydew snow”. In mainland China, however, neutral characters would be used when it comes to translating the names of female politicians or scientists to given the names a sense of seriousness.

How to Say Your Name in Chinese

say name in Chinese

Now you’ve known how to write your name in Chinese script, let’s talk about how you can actually say your name in Chinese.

Before we get into the various ways of introducing yourself in Chinese, here is one crucial thing you always need to keep in mind:

Chinese is a tonal language. If you change the tone of your name in Chinese, it will likely become another word with a different meaning! For instance,  杰克 (Jié kè) is “Jack” in Chinese, but 接客 (jiē kè) means “accommodate guests”, while 解渴 (jiě kě) means “quench thirst” and 皆可 (jiē kě) – “it’s all good”. They are just one tone apart! So pay close attention to the tones when you say your name out loud.

If you want to master your Chinese pronunciation, We suggest you start with the Pinyin system. It’s an incredibly useful tool for foreigners to learn the sound of Chinese using the Roman alphabet. We’ve written a detailed guide to help you get started. Read more about Pinyin.

My Name is … in Chinese

No matter how little Chinese you know, it’s easy to introduce yourself to someone who speaks Chinese. Here are six ways you can say “my name is…” in Chinese:

1. 我叫…

Pronunciation: Wǒ jiào …
Literally, “I am called …”

When you want to introduce yourself to Chinese speakers, the most natural way to say your name in Chinese is to start with 我叫 (Wǒ jiào) and then follow it up with your name. In this sentence, 我 (wǒ) is the personal pronoun “I”, and 叫 (jiào) is a versatile verb, meaning “be called” here. So this sentence can be translated to “I am called…”.

With this expression, you can either introduce yourself with your full name or just your first name, though in formal situations such as a business setting, you’ll more likely need to say your full name in Chinese.

For example:

  • 我叫詹姆斯·布雷迪
    Wǒ jiào Zhān mǔ sī · Bù léi dí.
    My name is James Brady.
    Literally, “I am called James Brady.” 

Since the full name is a direct translation from English and not a Chinese name per se, you don’t need to reverse the order to comply with the “family name + given name” Chinese name structure. You still say your first name before your last name.

2. 我是…

Pronunciation: Wǒ shì …
Literally, “I am …”

Another easy and popular way of saying your name in Chinese is to start with 我是 (Wǒ shì) followed by your name. 是 (shì) is the verb “to be”, so it’s just like saying “I am…” in English.

3. 我的名字叫…

Pronunciation: Wǒ de míngzi jiào …
Literally, “My name is called …”

4. 我的名字是…

Pronunciation: Wǒ de míngzi shì …
Literally, “My name is …”

It’s usually fine to say your name in Chinese with either format, beginning the self-introduction with 我叫 (Wǒ jiào) or 我是 (Wǒ shì), but in some situations, you might want to add a formal element to the name introduction and make the statement longer. To do so, simply replace 我 (wǒ) with the phrase 我的名字 (wǒ de míngzi) – “my name”. Again, you can say your full name or just your first name afterward, depending on how serious you want to make yourself sound.

5. 我的中文名字叫…

Pronunciation: Wǒ de Zhōngwén míngzi jiào …
Literally, “My Chinese name is called …”

6. 我的中文名字是…

Pronunciation: Wǒ de Zhōngwén míngzi shì …
Literally, “My Chinese name is …”

If you want to be specific that you’re giving your name in Chinese, you can add the word 中文 (Zhōngwén), which means “Chinese”, before 名字 (míngzi) – “name” in the previous sentences. This is also good for establishing preference, letting people know that you prefer to be addressed by your name in Chinese.

“What Is Your Name” in Chinese

Now that you know how to say your name and introduce yourself, let’s learn how to properly ask someone their name in Chinese as well. This will come in handy when your meet new Chinese friends or colleagues.

As with any expression in Chinese, there is more than one way to ask “what’s your name” in Chinese. Here are the four most common questions we use.

1. 你叫什么名字?

Pronunciation: Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
Literally, “You are called what name?”

The standard form of “what’s your name” in Chinese is 你叫什么名字?(Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi). In this question, 什么  (shénme) is the question word, meaning “what”. So this sentence can be translated to “You are called what name?”.

This question can be used in most situations. However, when you meet senior people, it’s better to change it to 您叫什么名字?(Nín jiào shénme míngzi?) to help you sound more polite. 您 (nín) is the honorific form of 你 (nǐ), which is used to address someone who is older than you or in a more senior position than you.

2. 你叫什么?

Pronunciation: Nǐ jiào shénme?
Literally, “You are called what?”

You can omit 名字 (míngzi) after the question word 什么 (shénme) to make the question sound less formal. You can use the shortened form of “what’s your name” in casual situations.

3. 你的名字叫什么?

Pronunciation: Nǐ de míngzi jiào shénme?
Literally, “Your name is called what?”

4. 你的名字是什么?

Pronunciation: Nǐ de míngzi shì shénme?
Literally, “Your name is what?”

Two other expressions for asking someone’s name in Chinese is 你的名字叫什么?(Nǐ de míngzì jiào shénme) and 你的名字是什么?(Nǐ de míngzì shì shénme). They convey a more serious tone and you’ll most likely hear them in very formal situations, such as when you are making a transaction at a bank, and the bank staff needs to identify who you are. Generally, these formal forms are not commonly used in daily speech.

There you go! Once you have these patterns down, you’re golden. So, tell me, what’s your name in Chinese?

FAQ about Names in Chinese

English (and other European languages) and Chinese are fundamentally different languages with drastic differences in phonetics and script. Most Chinese people will have a hard time pronouncing a foreign name that’s written in letters. Translating foreign names into Chinese enables Chinese speakers to recognize, pronounce these names with ease and helps them remember the names better.

Yes, one way or another, all foreign names can be translated into Chinese and pronounced in the Chinese way, even if your name is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!

No, foreign names are customarily transliterated into Chinese by sound. You can’t use a straight translation even if your name is a common noun.

For instance, Emma Stone’s name is translated as 艾玛·斯通 (Ài mǎ · Sī tōng) – not 艾玛·石头 (Ài mǎ · Shí tou) – in Chinese, even though her last name indeed has a meaning in English.

That said, it’s okay sometimes to translate a foreign nickname or art name into Chinese based on its meaning. For example, Dwayne Johnson (Chinese: 道恩·强森; Pinyin: Dào ēn · Qiáng sēn) was nicknamed 巨石强森 (Jù shí Qiáng sēn) – meaning “Giant rock Johnson” – by his fans in China.

The reason why some people have different names in Chinese is a matter of media, with various mainstream outlets adopting different ways to transliterate a name, and without there being any clear consensus on which name to use across the board.

“First name”, “middle name” and “last name” in Chinese are 名 (míng), 中间名 (zhōngjiān míng), and 姓 (xìng), respectively.

An authentic Chinese name must consist of a 姓 (xìng) – last name (family name), and a 名 (míng) – first name (given name). The last name is usually just one character, while the first name normally comprises one or two characters (a full Chinese name must be between two and six characters in length). Besides, the first name always comes after the last name, and there is no middle name in a Chinese person’s name.

Transliterations of foreign names, however, have no restriction on the number of characters. Plus,  the characters used for transliterations are usually uncommon for Chinese names, therefore, the names translated into Chinese are often easily recognizable as foreign names on purpose.

It’s generally fine to use your transliterated name if you don’t speak Chinese or are just staying in China for a very short time. But if you want your name to sound like a typical Chinese person’s name that any native speaker could understand and remember easily, then make yourself a Chinese name. It’ll also help you build an awareness of Chinese culture! Read our guide to Choosing Your Chinese Name to get started!

According to the latest report compiled by the Ministry of Public Security of China in 2021, the most popular Chinese names now are 奕辰 (Yìchén) for boys and 一诺 (Yīnuò) for girls. Read more about the Most Popular Chinese Names (Trends in 2021 and Across the Decades).

By the way, if you’re interested in learning Chinese, we strongly recommend that you take a structured Chinese course online.

We’ve taken the time to try out dozens of Chinese courses online, some are fabulous while others are abysmal. Read our unbiased reviews here and discover our top recommendations!