The most frequently
asked questions about translations of names, words and phrases.
May I use the Chinese symbols vertically?
You can use them horizontally or vertically. The symbols
order and signification remain the same both ways. For
calligraphy, tattoos and art works the vertical presentation is
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.
you translate initials?
Because there is no Chinese alphabet, initials cannot be
translated into Chinese symbols.
Are there any caps in Chinese?
No, there is no caps for the names,
nor for any word
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.
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
What is the difference between kanji and Chinese
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 meaning in Chinese and Japanese can be
the same but pronounced differently, or they may have entirely