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Would 董 be a possibility? (Thinking a great deal about rulers in the context of conduct and character lately, and 董卓 keeps jumping to mind;)

  • note Donald Trump 唐纳德·杜普,特朗普,唐納·川普 – user6065 Jul 28 '17 at 20:28
  • Thanks for that! Would this rendering of his name connote "one of exaggerated virtue" or "a temperament that delights in boasting" which "floods everything"? (He certainly seems to confirm Laozi's aphorism about the person who speaks vs. the person who keeps quiet;) – DukeZhou Jul 28 '17 at 20:38
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    no, it's just transliteration. none of such meanings implied. – dan Jul 30 '17 at 3:17
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    Note 董 in 董卓 is a surname while Donald is a given name. – jf328 Aug 1 '17 at 11:07
  • @jf328 Sometimes "The Don" is used as a style for the current US president, because it's a play on his given name, a nod to his superlative view of himself (which likely extends to all who share his given name, thus there are many Dons, Donalds, and Donnies, but he is "the" Don), and because it is used as an honorific for Mafia bosses, with the legendary Don Corleone as an exemplar. – DukeZhou Aug 1 '17 at 17:26
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I don't see any reason to rule out choosing 董 as part of a name. People may be impressed by your historical interest, which can be a good conversation starter.

As for more "conventional" options, one way to see different ways of rendering a name (such as "Donald") is to look at how names of famous (or infamous) people with the name are transliterated.

E.g. Donald Knuth (a famous computer scientist) is 高德纳 Gāo Dénà;

Donald Tusk (a Polish politician) is 唐纳德·图斯克 Tángnàdé Túsīkè

To make one's name sound more "Chinese", some people will try to keep 1 surname character, and then 1-2 given name characters, to have a 2-3 syllable name like most Chinese people. So Knuth's Chinese name will sound much more "Chinese" than Tusk's, comparing the examples above.

  • Thanks for this answer! Part of what prompted the question (aside from looking for excuses to spend time with the Chinese language) is because I've noticed that there don't seem to be standard transliterations for a given name. Your point about Tusk and Knuth is quite illustrative. – DukeZhou Aug 1 '17 at 17:23
  • In English, we don't bother transliterating most names in other languages using the Latin alphabet (e.g. French, Spanish, Swedish, ... names) apart form maybe stripping off some diacritics. Turning things into Chinese characters create some unique issues, especially because they have all sorts of connotations. A particularly unfortunate case of transliteration (and then abbreviation) gone crazy is the name for Africa: 阿非利加洲 Āfēilìjiā-zhōu which become 非洲 Fēizhōu "NOT a state". – haksayng Aug 1 '17 at 18:53

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