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Chinese Name - A new identity

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  1. #1

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    Chinese Name - A new identity

    Dear All,

    I would like to know your thoughts on whether Expats should have a Chinese name or not. I have heard two different stories.

    Professionally I was told that I should decide on a Chinese name so that I can print it on one of the sides of my business card. I understand that when you introduce yourself you should always present your business card with the Chinese name facing your interlocutor.

    However, I have also been told that sometimes a foreigner using a Chinese name can be offending for Chinese people. Which means that I should stick to my name. I'm not sure about this version of the story and I don't understand the reasons behind it but I'd rather double check.

    Also, if I decide on a Chinese name, does it have to be related in any way to my name or can it be unrelated. Basically, how do you decide on a Chinese name?

    Many thanks


  2. #2

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    When I first came to Asia I was talked into taking a Chinese name to go on my business cards, but after a while I decided this was not a good thing. If you speak enough Chinese to at least exchange pleasantries they maybe, but if not then I wouldn't do it (and didn't after my first job in Asia).


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khaemis:
    Dear All,
    I understand that when you introduce yourself you should always present your business card with the Chinese name facing your interlocutor.
    Many thanks
    I understand the opposite, that this may offend as you think they don't understand English! Really, there's no rule. I have a Chinese name that 'sounds' like my surname. I only took it as it supports my sons having Chinese names, they are half Chinese! My sons and I now have the same first character in our Chinese names. I'm never addressed like that by anybody though!!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryant.english:
    I have a Chinese name that 'sounds' like my surname.
    "Bryant 英文"?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khaemis:
    However, I have also been told that sometimes a foreigner using a Chinese name can be offending for Chinese people. Which means that I should stick to my name. I'm not sure about this version of the story and I don't understand the reasons behind it but I'd rather double check.
    Never heard that but you have to make sure that your Chinese name doesn't mean something offensive, which could happen if you just do a phonetic translation. Common English first names have a Chinese translation, but for less common names or other languages this may not be the case.

    Furthermore many Chinese names have a deeper meaning to it, which may not easy be for a foreigner to know / understand, so if you adopt a Chinese name make sure it's chosen carefully.

    Also, if I decide on a Chinese name, does it have to be related in any way to my name or can it be unrelated. Basically, how do you decide on a Chinese name?
    You don't decide yourself, instead you should ask a trusted local to help you find one for the reasons stated above.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khaemis:
    However, I have also been told that sometimes a foreigner using a Chinese name can be offending for Chinese people. Which means that I should stick to my name. I'm not sure about this version of the story and I don't understand the reasons behind it but I'd rather double check.

    Also, if I decide on a Chinese name, does it have to be related in any way to my name or can it be unrelated. Basically, how do you decide on a Chinese name?
    As a Chinese from Hong Kong, I have never heard that it is offensive and personally I have never thought about it.

    But if you want to get one, make sure you understand the meaning of it. I'm always curious to know why they choose the name, because of the meaning or similar pronunciation?

    There is a host from CCTV who can speaker very well Mandarin. His English name is Daniel but his Chinese name is 大牛 (Big Cow). I still couldn't understand why he would choose this Chinese name? Why you would call yourself a cow? I think if he was working in HK, he probably would choose a different name. It also tells the different culture between China and HK.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bDXAEVQhmc


    But I think from the point of view of foreigners, Hong Kong people pick many silly English names as well, like Rainbow, Apple or Kawii. So I think there really is no rule here.
    Last edited by mingming; 14-03-2011 at 02:12 AM.

  7. #7

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    Ming Ming

    No it's Big Mountain not Big Cow lol
    Posted via Mobile Device


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bookblogger:
    "Bryant 英文"?
    布萊恩 Bryant Bo Loy Yun !!! It kind of comes from the mispronunciation of Brian, think Blyan!!

    I've been told it sounds like the name of a movie star and also that it is a dogs name...
    Last edited by bryant.english; 14-03-2011 at 06:59 AM.

  9. #9

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    It depends on the following

    a. your foreign name
    b. who you mainly deal with

    as to a: If it is difficult for Chinese to pronounce, e.g. Robespierre then you better add a Chinese name.

    as to b:if you deal with people from mainland China who are with small to medium sized companies and don't have much exposure to foreigners then it is advisable to add a Chinese name.

    "However, I have also been told that sometimes a foreigner using a Chinese name can be offending for Chinese people."

    No such thing. I assume what you mean is a Chinese name that might sound offending to Chinese (?).

    Last edited by Morrison; 14-03-2011 at 07:55 AM.
    mingming and Khaemis like this.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mingming:
    .................
    There is a host from CCTV who can speaker very well Mandarin. His English name is Daniel but his Chinese name is 大牛 (Big Cow). .
    because his Chinese is just incredible (牛逼)

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