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Change of surname - does it affect business?
Thread poster: Elizabeth Sumner
Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 06:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Sep 1, 2004

Hi, could someone let me know whether changing your surname when you marry harms business?
I read an article in a paper this week that said it can take a good year before everyone realises who you are!

Thanks a lot,

Elizabeth Sumner
www.polaris-translation.co.uk


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member
German to English
+ ...
Use it as a marketing opportunity! Sep 1, 2004

I got married last year and took the oppurtunity to send an e-mail to my existing customers. I had no discernable loss of income as a result!

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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
same here Sep 1, 2004

Mary Worby wrote:
took the oppurtunity to send an e-mail to my existing customers. I had no discernable loss of income as a result!


In fact, I had to email everyone twice: first when I moved from Argentina to England, and then when I got married.
It's not much problem with regular clients because I keep a closer contact and communication. But it was excellent for not so regular ones as it helped remind a few people that I still existed and was in business.

For these, not so regular, what I did to avoid confussion with someone else was to send an updated CV and add next to my married surname the following "(nee 'my old surname')", just for them to associate. After that, I always used my married name with no reference to the previous one.

Cheers,
Grace.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
English to Tamil
+ ...
As soon as I read the first posting of this thread I thought of you Sep 1, 2004

And pleasantly here you are with your posting. I very well remember your posting in the proz regarding your change of surname due to marriage as well as the warm greetings form your colleagues including myself.

I refer to http://www.proz.com/topic/13066

Regards,
N.Raghavan
Mary Worby wrote:

I got married last year and took the oppurtunity to send an e-mail to my existing customers. I had no discernable loss of income as a result!


[Edited at 2004-09-01 12:45]


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
I'd keep my own name Sep 1, 2004

To be honest (and I'm not trying to get up on a feminist soapbox), I'd keep my surname.
Here in Italy you keep your own name even when you marry, so the problem really doesn't arise. But I quite like using the name I've had since birth.
Otherwise, you could do what my sister has done: she uses her maiden name in the professional world but becomes Mrs. Husband's Surname in her personal life.
It can get confusing, but she already had an excellent professional reputation before she married, so she decided to keep that name.

Catherine

PS: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Even more confusing.... Sep 1, 2004

I would agree in keeping you surname for business purposes. I know women who have changed their surnames and when divorced changed them back again.....ohhhh! Not businesslike.
I'm sure you'll have a happy marriage but just in case.
Good luck.


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member
German to English
+ ...
Keeping surname not practical Sep 1, 2004

I've always wondered how people manage to successfully juggle two names for business and private use. I think it's just about doable if you have a 9-5 office job but very difficult if you work from home and manage personal and professional life from one PC.

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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:50
German to English
+ ...
In my opinion, there is also another aspect to consider. Sep 1, 2004

I thought about this myself, although I currently have no marriage plans. I translate from German into English and were I to marry a German (my current boyfriend is German), people might think I'm German because of the German name and many people prefer native speakers to translate into English (I know it's wrong for people to judge by a name, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they do!)


All the best,

Sarah



[Edited at 2004-09-01 14:17]


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Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 06:50
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks - I've got a while to decide Sep 1, 2004

Thanks for your posts. It shouldn't be so hard for agencies to grasp but a friend got married last year and her new name is still confusing people she works with - even ones she sees every day.

I was thinking of having 'professional' and 'private' surnames. Luckily I like long engagements so I don't have to decide straight away.

Elizabeth Sumner


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:50
German to English
+ ...
Unique Selling Point, branding + consistency Sep 1, 2004

First of all, I think one should decide to change/not change one's name based on personal convictions, not necessarily that it would be good or bad for business. For the record, I kept mine, for typical "feminist soapbox" reasons

However, one shouldn't discount the unique selling point of one's name. Here in Germany, my last name Johnson is very unique, and immediately conveys that I am probably a native speaker of English. This is part of my "brand" and I've found it works well in marketing. I'm willing to bet Catherine Bolton, who posted above, has had a similar experience in Italy.

My husband's name is decidedly German-sounding; let's call him "Schmidt." "Michele Schmidt" just doesn't convey the same message I want to be sending.

My main point is that one should also take into consideration the constellation of location, native language, and name. Since you live in the US, maybe it doesn't make much of a difference in this respect.

More generally speaking, I think consistency in business image is very important. I personally am not convinced that the additional advertising from informing customers really offsets the impact of the change. I guess this would depend on how established one was before the name change.


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 08:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Double-barreled name Sep 1, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

I thought about this myself, although I currently have no marriage plans. I translate from German into English and were I to marry a German (my current boyfriend is German), people might think I\'m German because of the German name and many people prefer native speakers to translate into English (I know it\'s wrong for people to judge by a name, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they do!)

All the best,
Sarah
[Edited at 2004-09-01 14:17]


How about a double-barreled name. If you have half an English surname and half a German one (such as top Kudoz scorer \"Jane Lamb-Ruiz\" (in this case, Spanish)), then that could well be an advantage, as they\'ll know you\'re either married to a speaker of the other language or was brought up bilingually.


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Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 06:50
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Double barrel names Sep 1, 2004

Unfortunately my boyfriend's English (I'm in the UK) with an Irish name so a double-language surname won't work for me. I think it's going to be easier for him to change his name :>

Elizabeth Sumner


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:50
I could not agree more with Catherine! Sep 1, 2004

cbolton wrote:

To be honest (and I'm not trying to get up on a feminist soapbox), I'd keep my surname.
Here in Italy you keep your own name even when you marry, so the problem really doesn't arise. But I quite like using the name I've had since birth.
Otherwise, you could do what my sister has done: she uses her maiden name in the professional world but becomes Mrs. Husband's Surname in her personal life.
It can get confusing, but she already had an excellent professional reputation before she married, so she decided to keep that name.

Catherine

PS: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!


I cannot tell you how many problems I have had with my name, not since I married, but since I came to live to the US. I was born Rosa Maria Duenas Canales (In Latin American countries we use two family names: the father's and the mother's). Most of my documents (birth certificate, diplomas, credit cards, investment and bank accounts, medical records, passport, and many more) show my name as Rosa Maria Duenas. Not to mention that all my clients know me by that name too, and that -as Catherine rightly points out- I quite like using the name I have had since I was born!

When I came to the US, all of a sudden authorities changed it to Rosa Rios, without even asking me!!!! Their logic (illogic to me) was that I had married Rios, a US citizen, and that Maria was my middle name; thus I did not need my maiden and middle names anymore! And thus, my birth certificate, diplomas, bank accounts, credit cards, and passport were not in my name anymore!!! I had to fight to have my social security card and driver license changed to show my name as Rosa-Maria Duenas-Rios, and I still have to face Immigration when the time comes to renew my green card, which reads Rosa Rios who, to me, is someone else.

In a nutshell, to keep it simple, and to keep my identity, I'd stick to my name!







[Edited at 2004-09-02 20:37]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't Feel You Must Change Sep 2, 2004

A name is one's identity, male or female. There is nothing wrong with keeping that identity and to lose it could hurt you professionally if you already have a following in your current name. And surely you must.

Rosa María describes the problem rather eloquently. In her country and many others, a woman never loses her surname, continues to use it professionally and also passes it on to her children. I think that's the right way to do it.

Rosa María also points up another problem, that in the U.S. no provision is made to accomodate Spanish names. The parameters that are provided are just "first, middle and last", that's it. Nothing to accomodate two surnames, nothing to accomodate someone like Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martínez Cardona, otherwise known as Vicki Carr, a native of El Paso, Texas. Well, at least she does have a following as "Vicki Carr".


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 08:50
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The same happens in Spain, but the other way round. Sep 2, 2004

I once had a new bank card sat in the bank for several weeks because it had been filed under Andrew, my middle name. They see Timothy Andrew Barton and assume Andrew is my surname. I've stopped giving my middle name now, but Social Security have already got it, so I think it's a bit late. Forms in Spain don't make provision for the fact that Catalan names are formed by putting "i" in between the two surnames (e.g. Duran i Lleida - (leader of the Convergència i Unió party).

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