Article How to Pick a Chinese Name

How to Pick a Chinese Name - Digital Art by Matthias Zegveld

The Zen Teacher — Digital Art by Matthias Zegveld — from

Matthias Zegveld — the Netherlands





Tips from Matthias

Learning the Chinese language — as well as the rich and historical Chinese culture — is as exciting as it is hard work.

One of the things I really enjoyed was picking a Chinese name. For the ones not familiar with this, let me explain what it means.

The Chinese of course don't use the alphabetical system as we do in the West. However they use their own pin yin characters to write words, numbers, and names.

Since its a tonal language, it is really hard to translate or transform your western name into the Chinese language — in a fitting way.

That's why it's easier — and much more fun — to come up with a brand new one, one that reflects the characteristics of your personality, or the beauty of your aspirations.

Find the Characteristics of You

When I was in the process of picking my Chinese name, I thought about what defined me the most. For me, that is, I have a strong personality, with much perseverance, but at the same time have a gentle, humble character.

That made me think of a horse, a strong horse — which is also one of the Chinese Zodiacs. Because in general, a horse has impeccable strength, but a very human-friendly and gentle character.

So, to find your Chinese name, or rather the fundamental parts of it, it's important to think about what shapes you. For example, maybe you love life, and are a big dreamer, then a bright flower — such as the lotus — might be something for you.

Find the Pin Yin Characters of Your Keywords

When you've come up with an idea for your keywords, for example: bright lotus, then it's time to go online and find the Chinese character that translates into your keyword.

There's many good English (other languages also) to Pin Yin translators to be found on the Web. Once you've found one, type in your keywords, in our example: lotus, and flower.

And voila! There the magical and inspiring Chinese characters appear on the screen, and all you have to do is put them together in a string.

Use and Enjoy Your Chinese Name to Connect with the Chinese People

Chinese people love it when you speak their language — or at least a bit and are trying. They love it even more if you've gone as far as giving yourself a name that's fitting to the Chinese society.

It not only speaks of a level of interest, it also creates great new opportunities for conversation-starters, whether it is online, or in the real world.

So, find yourself today spending some time to design and pick your Chinese name, and have fun using and talking about it!

Art Print