"Where do I even start?!"
"Gosh so difficult."
"Oh dear, I have not used Chinese since high school Chinese classes"
Many parents today struggle with giving their kid a Chinese name. If you are a parent-to- be, here is a quick guide to your options. Which category do you fall under?
- For the Involved (or the Brave): Do It Yourself
- For the Connected: Ask for help from family and friends
- For the Others: Seek professional advice
1. Do It Yourself #
If you have basic understanding of the language, and want to try your hand at name-giving, that's definitely a good option. It’s a very meaningful gift that a parent can give to a child. Below are some steps we would recommend, time for you to get cracking:
- Google for name giving principles and study articles to get an idea of the principles to consider in giving a name.
- Explore websites such as 起名网 and 宝宝起名大全, which contain a treasure trove of data and information.
- Study written books to delve deeper into traditional naming methodologies. One such book: Choosing Auspicious Chinese Names provides an eloquent explanation of some traditions.
- Finally get feedback of your desired name with a couple of other native speakers
Many of these options will take you from half a day to over a week at the least.
2. Help From Family And Friends #
This is often the best choice for people who have knowledgeable friends, parents (in-laws) or relatives who can help them out. They would also be able to instinctively point out if a name is appropriate or not, and consider aspects that are harder for non-native speakers such as whether it sounds melodious, or has an association with pop-stars or historical figures etc. It is also highly meaningful for a child to be given a name by an elder, which provides a connection through the blood lineage.
Take note of some issues that might occur:
- Parents (in-laws) have decidedly different preferences for names from younger parents
- Decisions regarding Birth Profile may not be entirely taken into account or recorded down for future reference
3. Seek Professional Advice #
Not everyone has a good understanding of Chinese, or family who can help with giving Chinese names. It doesn’t make one a bad parent to reach out and ask for some help from professionals. And why not? A name lasts for a lifetime, and it is not something to be taken lightly.
Remember to ask the professional about their methods and deliverables. There are differences in terms of their extent of focus on geomancy, the number of names provided, whether the professional offers a meet-up, the type of names that the professional leans towards providing (we all write with a different voice and we believe that naming also carries a slant based on the professional's experience), and whether there is an explanation of their naming methodology. Prices and delivery experiences also differ.
At GetChineseNames, we pride ourselves on providing full English explanations of the name crafted, after seeing several of our friends struggle with the Chinese names provided to them by fengshui masters. More details of our approach are available on our About page.