Question on translating Chinese name on English Document
Thread poster: Jessicagao

Local time: 18:39
English to Chinese

Posted via Mobile

Apr 30

Hi everyone,

I am translating a marriage certificate and birth certificate from English to Chinese for a client.
She has Chinese name written in Chinese. When I do the translation for her, should I put her name in Chinese or leave it as pinyin( in English)?

If it is required to translate into name in Chinese, should I verify the name written in Chinese by asking for her id?

Thanks a lot for your professional advice!



David Shen  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:39
English to Chinese
+ ...
照抄就行 May 3

Hi Jessica,

If your client has provided her name written in Chinese, that would be the name she wants you to use in your Chinese translation.

In fact, next time when you have a similar request from a client who does not provide his or her name already written in Chinese, you should ask for it, because you don't want to be creative when translating people's names for documents.

When you do need to contact your client for verification, however, I don't think you have the authority to ask them for IDs (unless you are a notary public yourself), just their word or something in writing is good enough for your translation purposes.

Back to the above question, you can leave the spelling of this client's name in parenthesis or a pair of round brackets (pinyin) after her Chinese name. 中文姓名后,可加括弧(填上拼音)。

Mine is not the best answer, but I hope it helps. There are experienced translators here who might be dealing with such documents on a daily basis, and hopefully they would come to help.


Jianhong Jane Wang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:39
Member (2017)
English to Chinese
+ ...
音译 May 3



David Lin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:39
Member (2013)
English to Chinese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Welcome to Chinese Forum and a response to your enquiry May 8

Hello Jessica,

First of all, welcome to the Chinese Forum! I hope you enjoy your experience here and come often!

With regards to your question about English > Chinese of legal documents such as marriage certificate, I usually do not ask for the original Chinese name if the job is from an agent. The reason is that there is no proof that is verifiable between the source English name and the Chinese name, and forged ID and forged documents are so rampant these days. For example, anyone can say Li Xiaoyi to be 李小一 or 李笑艺 or 利孝亿 and many others.

Even though sometimes an agent could provide a Chinese name given by end client, I would suggest to the PM to verify it with legal documents such as a passport before accepting it as genuine.

Being aware of the non-verifiable circumstances and to protect yourself from becoming an accomplice in any forgery process (without you knowing and I am not saying your client is a fake), I think you have the right to ask for legal proof of the Chinese name, if yours is an end client (directly to you without an agent), but of course the client has the right not to provide. In this case, you can say politely that since I don't have legal proof that you are the actual person who owns the Chinese name given to you, all you can do is to leave the English name in the Chinese translation.

If it's Chinese > English, I, like Jane and David Shen, would put the word "phonetic" in brackets next to the English translation without having to ask for any proof. It's an acceptable practice these days.

Hope you'll find this helpful.

David Lin


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