Please be not disturbed by the diversity of opinions regarding how best to render your daughter’s name in Arabic letters. The source of controversy is the initial short vowel. The sound E, as in “elephant” simply does not exist in Arabic. The Arabic vowel set consists of three basic sounds, A-I-U, each represented in a short form and a long form. When representing a name containing the vowel E (Beth, Edna, Ella, Esther, Jennifer, Kelly, Lesley, Melba, Nell, Penn, Rhett, Shelby, Thelma, Wesley) in Arabic, one must choose a reasonable approximation from the Arabic vowel set. Different approaches have been noted.
One noted tendency is to favor the sound of long E, like the first E in “Eden.” If we represent the name “Ella” in this fashion إيلا
the resulting sound becomes EELA. That is how the previous answer renders “Ella,” and that is what I am trying to avoid.
Is there a perfect way to represent “Ella” in Arabic? I am afraid not. The remaining options are two:
Option one: ألا
Pronounced ALLA, which sounds close to an Arabic male name, علاء
Although not a perfect representation of “Ella,” that is the rendition that I am recommending, because it does the least amount of violence, based on how “Ella” is pronounced here in Sugar Land, Texas.
Option Two: إلا
Pronounced ILLA, which sounds close to the Arabic preposition إلى
which is usually translated as “to.”
This last rendition is a bit confusing, because it looks similar to the Arabic word إلاّ
which means “except.” The main difference is the presence of a an intensive diacritic that directs the reader to lean on the L a bit longer, similar to the Italian pronunciation of “mortadella.”
And there you have my overblown explanation of why “Ella” is such a challenging name to represent in Arabic.