What's in a user name?
Thread poster: Jason Ma

Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:35
English to Chinese
+ ...
Oct 31, 2007

As a China based Engish to/from Chinese translator, the role of a user name always puzzles me. I noticed many fellow translators use *unusual* names instead of their real ones.
Earlier this year, when I registered at this website, I gave myself a name as "Martin Jones", since it sounds like my name in Chinese, and I hope it sounds familiar to native speakers of English. However, later when I consulted with my British friend about my user name, he remarked that "It sounds bit of suspicious to native speakers of English". Somehow, I have the same feeling about it.

I'm just wondering that what's in a user name?

[Edited at 2007-10-31 12:12]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
An Image Oct 31, 2007

A user name projects an image, and I would venture to say that many used here do not project a good one. What we should seek here is professionalism. My own opinion is that it is best to use one's true name.

The same goes for the portrait; some use "avatars" and many use portraits that are inappropriate. A good image in all respects is something attractive.

We spend our lives trying to make a good name for ourselves, so why not wear it proudly?

I would say yours looks pretty good.


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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:35
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks. Nov 1, 2007

Henry, thanks for sharing your idea with me.

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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 18:35
English to German
+ ...
True, it does sound a bit funny... Nov 1, 2007

I don't know why I keep thinking that perhaps if I had to give you a name it would be something like Oliver or Jeff ...

I figure, for variation, it has to be a three-sylablle or a one-syllable name against a two-syllable word...

May God forgive the parents who carelessly chose names for their children. My granny told me that she had a customer whose family name was Hahn and she wanted to call her daughter Ruth. Ruth Hahn sounds pretty much like Truthahn (turkey) in German, so eventually my granny persuaded the lady to give her child another name...

Jason, I think it's good you asked this question...we all do associate something with names...and there is, of course, also the Latin proverb "nomen est omen", which I would translate by "the name is already an indication [of the person/thing or whatever comes later...].



Martin


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 18:35
German to English
Evil Overlord Nov 1, 2007

I have to admit I was sorely tempted to call myself something like Evil Overlord when I joined proz... but I think, like Henry, that your name and portrait are too important to mess around with. Use your real name or a version of it that is easier for foreigners to pronounce - if you feel that is important.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating - it´s the quality of your profile and your translations that will count.

Plus, it's important to build trust when working through the Internet. Anything that might make you seem dodgey or unprofessional will work against you - in fact, folks just won´t call you...
The same goes for your email address: poopie999@hotmail.com is just not gonna get you jobs. I automatically steer clear of "potential clients" with similar addresses.


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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:35
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Martin Nov 1, 2007

Martin, I might frown upon that name and hesitate to do business with you if you were "evil overlord". That's natural, everyone want to play safe.
One thing interesting about Chinese name is that it's always associated with certain poetic images or wishes.
Like Jason (sounds like Jianzhong in Chinese) is for "loyalty", Yueda, my son's name, is for "over the top of mountain", Hongyan, my wife's name, is for "red rock" (reminds me of Red Cloud, the famous American Indian).
A Chinese man/woman's given name never resembles the parents' or grandparents' given names, any similarity would be considered as offensive.

[Edited at 2007-11-01 09:53]

[Edited at 2007-11-01 09:58]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:35
English to German
+ ...
Never be deceiving Nov 1, 2007

When used for professional purposes, especially translation: Whatever user name you choose, never disguise your origin, how else can prospective clients believe that you are a native speaker?

I know that some of my female colleagues use abridged or made-up names to disguise their gender for reasons of possible sexual harassment.

Maybe you should rephrase your question: What's in a stage name?


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:35
German to English
+ ...
Chinese name wouldn't sound odd to US customers Nov 7, 2007

In the US, we are accustomed to hearing Chinese names (or the close equivalent thereof in English) or names like "Jason Ma" (first name Western, last name Chinese) - neither of these would raise an eyebrow. A lot of Chinese students here take a Western first name.

I agree that I would do a double-take if I saw that you were a native Chinese speaker based in China and your name was "Martin Jones." However, if you were US-based, I wouldn't think it odd - after all, your family could have been here for six generations already!

I also agree with the above posters about the "Evil Overlord" syndrome. When I see overly cutesy names and images, I don't get a professional vibe from that. The same goes for women who are trying to look sexy or glamorous - on a job site, really!?


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Miles Crew  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:35
Chinese to English
Hmm... Jun 5, 2008

I'm doing something for someone in China who is using a Western name (including surname- and this is a guy) but whom I strongly suspect (for several reasons that are inconclusive on their own but paint a clear picture put together) is actually Chinese... Personally I thought this seemed pretty shady (I mean, if you try to conceal the fact that you're Chinese because you think foreigners won't work with you otherwise, then you're already dishonest enough that they indeed should probably not work with you), but I went ahead and took the job because the pay offered was pretty good, I didn't spend TOO much time on it, and I couldn't be 100% sure about my suspicion, so we'll see. I don't want to jeopardize what could turn out to be an ongoing source of work, so I'm just playing dumb, and if the guy continues to think his English is good enough to fool a native speaker, it's not my problem.

Western (or "other") first names I have no problem with, nothing unusual about that. A non-Chinese surname due to adoption or marriage is perfectly legit, even if it may confuse some. But if someone born and bred in China is putting on a fully westernized name, I tend to think there's either an ulterior motive, or that the person is, at the least, extremely pretentious.
Jason, your explanation seems innocent and reasonable enough, but it would definitely rub some people the wrong way. And it's not as if "Jason Ma" is such an incomprehensible mouthful, so I think you made the right choice.


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Monika Rozwarzewska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:35
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I agree Jun 5, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

My own opinion is that it is best to use one's true name.



Besides, it is sometimes funny when non-Polish speakers phone me and try to pronounce my last name!


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