If you’re an international student applying to college, or simply moving to an English speaking country, it’s important to know the best way to translate your name.
When you’re getting certified translations of documents, legal officials often butcher the spellings of names, especially if they’re translating from a non-Latin-based alphabet.
(Fun fact: the practice of translating a name from one alphabet to another, like from Cyrillic to Latin is known as transliteration.)
Here are a few guidelines for how to translate your name into English.
1. Sound It Out
The more phonetically your name is spelled, the more likely it is to be pronounced correctly by English-speakers. Although there might be letters in your name that are not pronounced in your native language, leave them out of the English spelling. Translate your name as phonetically as possible.
If you’re not sure about English pronunciation (it can be confusing and sometimes downright weird), try asking an English teacher, or see if you can find someone in your school who has spent time in an English-speaking country to ask for advice.
Also keep in mind that English accents can vary by country. So if you’re coming to the US to study, then ask an American — not a Brit or an Australian — for advice on English pronunciation.
2. Keep it Simple
Bottom line — the shorter your name, the less trouble you’ll have conveying it to English-speakers. Keep it simple!
When you translate your name, eliminate all unnecessary characters. You’ll be grateful when your professors call attendance in your American college or university.
3. Be Consistent
When translating your name, make sure you spell it the same way on all your documents — your visa, college application, driver’s license, etc. The slightest variation in spelling can cause you a world of trouble when it comes to legal documentation.
Your name isn’t necessarily permanent, but it’s certainly a lot easier to get it right the first time rather than going through the tedious process of getting it changed. So when you translate your name, make sure you know exactly how you want it spelled.
4. Don’t Be Shy
When getting all of your personal documents translated into English, it is up to YOU to decide how to transliterate your name. Make sure you tell your professional translation company how you want your name spelled on all of your documents.
Remember, this process is kind of fun — you get to reinvent yourself a little. Tell us how you translated your name in the comments below!