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Hi all out there,

I don't know if this is possible but can the english name ISLA HOPE be translated into anything in ancient or original chinese, and what would it look like reading vertically if it can be done

thanks all


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English names can't really be directly translated into Chinese. The sounds can be approximated with characters that kind of, sort of sound a bit like the name does in English, however the meaning of these characters when put together is usually gibberish and a Chinese person looking at these characters would probably not be able to tell you what the English name was.

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As a surname, HOPE is generally translated into '霍普' according to its pronunciation.For example, the Australian poet A.D. Hope is translated into A.D.霍普. I am considering whether you can choose 霍(huo4) as your Chinese surname. And another alternative is 浦(pu3) which sounds the same to 普(pu3). The literal meaning is 'brink' or 'shore'.

As for first name, it's really hard and improper for me to think of it.:mrgreen: But an idea comes to me: choose another two characters. One should be relative to the meaning of 'isle', the other should sound like ISLA partly. And decide their orders by yourself (or listen to others advice). Then you get your Chinese given name.

And there are some characters relative to 'isle' include 屿(yu3),渚(zhu3),汀(ting1) and 沚(zhi3). Besides, two characters not relative to 'isle' but to 'brink' are 湄(mei2) and 涘(si4). (There should be more, but I just can't remember.)Those characters are rarely used in modern Chinese, they often appear in classical poems. In modern Chinese, 岛 can almost represent everything about 'island', but I never see parents name their children 岛.(Sorry, gato.:mrgreen: )

Hope you can get a good Chinese name.:)

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But just be aware that the pronunciation of these characters sound nothing like the English name, and anyone looking at it would not think it was the name of a person.

Hey, there is always a first. One wouldn't think "Sitting Bull" is a person's name, but once you know, it sounds naturally enough. Why should foreigners' look Chinese, just because the names are in Chinese, right? Japanese names don't look Chinese. Transliterated names don't look Chinese, either. Why not use a name that tries to retain the original meaning, rather than the sound?

Those characters are rarely used in modern Chinese, they often appear in classical poems. In modern Chinese, 岛 can almost represent everything about 'island', but I never see parents name their children 岛.(Sorry, gato. )

北岛 named himself 北岛. Hehe. 岛 is also common in Japanese names.

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Why not use a name that tries to retain the original meaning, rather than the sound?

I have no problem with this. People are free to choose whatever name has meaning for them, and my comment was more directed at the OP as it's important for him to realise that there isn't really a simple or direct way to "translate" a name into Chinese, and any attempt to do so is not so much translating but choosing a name. By doing this, he also needs to take into account whether he want to preserve the name's meaning, or the name's sound (or perhaps try to find some sort of balance between the two) because it's unlikely that you'll get an accurate rendition of both, and if you then want it to appear like a proper Chinese sounding name, then it's even harder again.
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Alan, a chinese name is made up of a surname (usually 1 character) and given name (either 1 or 2 characters). When naming a child, the parents will try to come up with a name that represents their hopes and aspirations for the child. A lot of thought is put into the naming, with people paying particular attention to both the meaning and the sound of the characters when put together.

When translating an English name into Chinese, there is no 1-1 mapping of names, and when "translating" a name, you really have 3 options:

1) Preserve the basic sound, but have no meaning.

2) Preserve the basic meaning, but sound completely different.

3) Make it appear to be like a Chinese name - but maybe you cannot have an accurate representation of either the sound or the meaning.

Depending on the name, you might be able to get 2 of these attributes, but it's unlikely that you can get all three (and more than likely, that you'll only get one).

So before you ask "can you translate this name", you need to decide what part you want translated, because for most names you cannot get all three of these things, and you usually have to choose one at the expense of another.

When deciding which attribute to preserve, here are some things to consider:

All chinese characters contain meaning. If you choose option 1, then although the chinese characters when put together will sound similar to your daughter's name, it will quite probably come across as gibberish to a Chinese speaker, because the meanings of the characters don't make sense when put next to each other. As an example, take the words 'I' 'laugh' 'hoe' and 'purr'. If you put them next to each other you get I-laugh-hoe-purr, which sort of sounds a bit like Isla Hope. That's basically what you'd be doing with the Chinese characters if you took this option.

If you choose option 2, you should consider what part of the meaning you want to preserve. Bear in mind that this meaning will only be an approximation - Isla and Island don't quite have the same feel. You also need to decide how much liberty the translator has is moving things around a bit to sound better in Chinese - e.g. Hope Island instead of Island Hope etc.

If you choose option 3, then you need to consider what to do about a surname - do you want to use your surname, or do you want the "surname" to come from your daughter's first and middle names (remembering of course that in Chinese, the surname comes before the given name). Also the length of a standard Chinese name is 2-3 syllables, so you need to decide what parts of the name you are prepared to sacrifice, and which part is more important - the sound or the meaning.

In all of these cases, you also need to realise that there is no way for someone who reads Chinese to be able to determine with any degree of certainty the English name these Chinese characters are supposed to represent (or even that it is a name of a person), though in some cases it is possible to make semi-educated guesses.

So, if for example you were going to get a tattoo of this name, and then you asked someone who reads Chinese what it meant, they wouldn't be able to tell you that it meant "Isla Hope".

As you can see, translating someone's English name into Chinese is not a simple process. Depending on what you want the name for (many visitors to theses forums who ask similar questions want to get a tattoo), it's important to have a proper understanding of the limitations involved in performing such a translation.

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  • 2 months later...

I have a problem with this: '霍普' as a translation for Hope

First, it's an approximation:

The above two characters when read:

in Mandarin, would read like "huo pu"

in Cantonese, would read like "fok poh"

My question is this: If the above characters were shown to people who don't know either Mandarin or Cantonese, it would be rendered totally different using different dialectal pronounciation. From this point onward, nobody could recover the original pronounciation as "Hope" in English. So why even bother?

HOPE sounds like Chinese family name "候", and your name Alan can be translated into Chinese name "艾伦"

I beg to differ: In Cantonese, Alan would be used by employing different characters (do a search for Alan Tam, a Chinese singer from Hong Kong). The surname suggested above 候 is pronounced "Hou", which in Cantonese would sound nothing like Hope or even "Hou" in Mandarin.

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  • 8 months later...

I.) My first piece of advice is to think about if people will really call you/her this name. I mean will people really actually say the name out loud and expect you/her to respond?

.......A.) If no one will probably ever use it in daily life, I'd go for meaning, hands down. (that's what I did)

.......B.) If people will really call you/her this out loud, decide if you want to:

............1.) get used to a new sound (going for meaning), or

............2.) if you won't be learning Chinese, but need to recognize your name if someone calls you, you may want to go the "sounds-sorta-like-it" route.

For example, if your name is Anna, it may be much more natural for you to turn your head in an office or classroom when you hear something that sounds like "Ahn-na" than some completely different sounds. It will likely be almost meaningless, but it'll get the job done with ease. If you go for meaning you'll have to repeat it a lot, have people call you it to get used to it, etc.

II.) My next piece of advice is after you've decided which route to go, ask CHINESE people (or non-chinese with a lot of experience with names). Don't just use random online tools without double-checking them with real live humans who are Chinese or have a lot of experience with Chinese names.

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