English names, made easy

I was on nciku recently for the first time in a while. They’ve got a somewhat new system up to help people choose English names. Certainly better than the books most academies have on hand for such a purpose. Maybe, however, not as good as people choosing their own from a somewhat limited mental lexicon. I’m talking about you, Seven, Eleven, Coffee, Twelve, Overlord, Hitler.

According to the site, my name is Finnegan. I’m totally fine with that.

The page lets the end user choose how common a name they want as well as potential starting letters. Hopefully it can prevent future cases of people named Lily Li, who really just call themselves “li li li” thanks to vowel discrepancies.

They’ve got a couple other interesting tools up as well, including an English to Pinyin translator for those who just need a quick phrase without having time to actually learn much Chinese.

Now if only they’d market the handwriting recognition input to people in the States wishing to get hanzi tattoos.

6 responses to “English names, made easy”

  1. Aw, man! I thought the English to pinyin converter was going to output stuff like this:

    hāluó, mài nèimǔ yìsī fèinīgān!

    By now there’s gotta be something like that out there.

  2. Bathrobe says:

    This is what I got for “Her Majesty is a mighty fine girl and I’m gonna make her mine one day”.

    nǚhuáng bìxià shì yígè qiángdà de fákuǎn nǚhái , wǒ yào qù tā de kuàngjǐng yǒuyìtiān 。

    Serves me right.

  3. Kellen says:

    good call on the Beatles though.

  4. pc says:

    @Randy That reminds me of my friend handing me a text message written in Cyrillic and asking me to respond. My Russian is rudimentary at best (offensive at worst), but as I slowly struggled through sounding it out I realized it was just English with Russian phonetics.

    Though, tying this back into Chinese, I wonder to what extent things like 三Q, 欧非香, and 酷 (though my mainland friends have never heard the second one) have entered 非香啊不 speech.

    “Chinese, as spoken by hip 20-somethings, is essentially really bad English.”
    –Jonathan Walton (Essentialist Expressions)

  5. Bathrobe says:

    Actually, the correct Beatles quote is:

    “Her majesty’s a pretty nice girl, someday I’m gonna make her mine.”

    This yields a slightly better version:

    nǚhuáng bìxià de yígè xiāngdāng búcuò de nǚhái , yǒuyìtiān , wǒ yào qù ràng tā de kuàngjǐng

    But strangely, the new Baidu translation service comes up with a different, even better version:


    So Baidu Translate and English to Pinyin Translator obviously use different algorithms.

  6. Brendan says:

    Huh. I asked for a “fairly common name beginning with B” and got “Braden,” which as far as I know is not even a real name.

    I like the idea of “Finnegan,” though, if only because I can’t hear it without immediately thinking “…and he grew whiskers on his chinnegan.”

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