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Choosing a Chinese name

My Chinese name is 周浩轩 (Zhōu hào xuān).

Choosing a name is hard. I had early Chinese names, but they were accidental. One from Chinese class, where our teacher randomly gave us names, and one from my translated Chinese business card ( 威尔森 - wēi ěr sēn - Wilson).

For the last year, I have been working with the same tutor, and I asked her to help. Chinese names are typically associated with meaning. To start, I listed out the sorts of traits I valued in a name. From here, she came up with a list of around ten suggestions.

The challenge was which one?

I started by putting them all into a spreadsheet, and expanding out pinyin, as I didn’t know all the characters. I found that you could check names on RenRen ( 人人 ). This let me figure out a rough popularity, and gender balance. For a final sanity check, I also searched for the name on Baidu images to see if there were any bad associations.

After gathering the data, I was down to two candidates, and picked the one that I liked the characters of.

I decided on Zhou as a surname by a more random approach. I looked through two lists of popular Chinese surnames. After avoiding names of friends, some musing, reading up on history and famous people with particular names, I picked.

After I had picked, it was pointed out to me that the two characters in my name reference two chengyu:

This adds a nice extra dimension to my name.

—  周浩轩