How English Names Are Translated into Chinese

Please refer to for a list of Western names translated into Chinese characters.

Other Sources of Examples of Translated English Names


More to be added. Readers may search other Internet sources as well.


People in China use the traditional, unsimplified characters rather than their own simplified characters to practice brush calligraphy. Many Internet resources list translated English names in simplified Chinese characters. To preserve the spiritual and artistic beauty of Chinese characters and calligraphy, people in China do not practice and teach brush calligraphy in simplified Chinese characters. 

The simplified characters in some Internet sources used for translated English names are somewhat different from the traditional characters shown on this website.



Option 1("Phonetically"): Translation based on pronunciation of each English syllable

Each English syllable is usually equivalent to a Chinese character, sometimes with another Chinese character added for the last consonant. The translation is based on "sound" or "pronunciation" as listed in

Example 1: Eric Kain = 艾利克 凱因

This is the default way of Joshua Hough's translation of English names. Then Chinese characters with beautiful structures and good meanings are selected from different styles of Chinese calligraphy. Unless requested by the buyers for "Option 2," the translation written with Chinese brush calligraphy are in accordance with this "Option 1" which is a more popular way. This popular way may be somewhat different among different translators; however, the Chinese pronunciations are all very close.

Option 2 ("Literarily" or "Philosophically"): Adopt a Chinese name based on your wish, philosophy, and etc.

When someone adopts a Chinese name, they pick up Chinese characters that resemble their personality, philosophy, wish, fortune, and etc. The result does not necessarily resemble the English pronunciation. The first character is the family name, the second and third characters give hint to one's personality, wish ... sometimes even a close pronunciation in a syllable of an English name. (The third character is not a middle name in Chinese. Chinese people do not have middle names - family names go first, then the given names follow. Given names are usually two characters. One-character given names are more concise and somewhat popular in China. One-character given names are less popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other Asian countries.)

Joshua Hough may recommend meaningful Chinese characters if you choose this option.

Example 1: Eric Kain = 柯以立

Here is how this name derived from perspectives of pronunciation and personal philosophy.

孔子曰         Confucius said,

君子              A true gentleman

三十而立       becomes independent (or strong) when he is at age 30

四十而不惑    and will not be confused at age 40.


柯以立 = Kain Eric (pronounced as Ker Yee Lee)

Family name goes first in Chinese

"Ker" pronounced in between "Ke" and "Ker", with "r" a little de-emphasized; good match for Kain

立 pronounced as "Lee"

以 Thus, Become, Equal, Achieve

以立 as a strong, independent, and successful person


Example 2: James Cahill = 高居翰 (An author of "Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting." Professor of Art at U.C. Berkeley.) This Chinese name is very literary, a good match for the Professor's achievements in publishing art books.

Cahill is translated to "" (pronounced Gao) which is somewhat similar phonetically.

"" means living or to live with. "" (pronounced Han) means literary writing or artistic writing with Chinese brushes.