Lizzy B.
Translating Names

As I'm becoming part of the bilingual community, I've noticed that there is some disagreement on whether or not you should translate your name so it fits the language you are speaking. Ex. Joseph becomes José. What are your thoughts on this subject?

Dec 18, 2015 2:58 AM
Comments · 2

It can work if done with care. One time I worked in a restaurant with a cook who said, "His name's KamaRaj, it means Sex King." Other people I've known translated to Infinite Secret, Warrior Sheik, Wild Pillar of Knowledge, Sita Ram's Offering Dear, Ray of Light Excellent, Cowherd Lady (for a male), Gracious Lion, and Essence of a Lord of Sati.

December 18, 2015

I get a feeling that, as different cultures communicate more, foreign names will become familiar and it won't be necessary to adapt the name to the new language. For example, I've noticed that Tchaikovsky's name is now written as Pyotr in Wikipedia, whereas I had grown up knowing the name as the anglicised "Peter".


Also, I remember when in Turkey I found it interesting that many names can also function as regular nouns (unlike in English, where we typically have given names, and noun-names like River, Storm, Chastity, Chance and so on sound a little "hippy"), yet it would be unusual to literally translate a name like Deniz as "Sea", when Deniz works fine to English ears.

December 18, 2015
Lizzy B.
Language Skills
Arabic (Levantine), Arabic (Modern Standard), English, French, German, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language
Arabic (Levantine), Arabic (Modern Standard), English, German, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Spanish