(I'm not actually certain my request fits here, as I'm looking for specific advice rather than answers to an abstract question. I'm sorry if it doesn't.)
I'm going to study in China for two years. In the next weeks, I'll have to fill out the university documents with my Chinese name – already the definitive one, that will also eventually figure in the diploma. Because of that, I'm attaching great importance to finding the right name.
I've already settled on a 姓氏: 孙. Choosing the right 名字, however, has proven to be too challenging for my unseasoned Chinese skills. As a guiding principle, I’m trying to find Chinese names that bear some phonetic resemblance to my name – Paulo – without resorting to transliterations such as 保罗.
Below I've listed some options I've gathered in a book on 'auspicious and elegant Chinese names', along with the reasons why I like them.
The problem is that I really don't have a clue as to which of these names sound good or just plain odd to the native (and the non-native expert) ear. Do any of the names strike you as particularly beautiful or prohibitively strange? Please tell me.
- 宝禄: Phonetically as close as it can get. I’m afraid, however, that its meaning may come across as too “shallow” or “materialistic”.
- 百禄: A variation on 宝禄.
- 宝林: I gravitate towards names with characters that signify, and especially depict, nature. It also sounds like the affectionate name my family calls me.
- 葩武: Fragility and might - seems beautiful to me. Combined with the family name 孙, however, I think it doesn’t sound so well.
- 布令: I like this very much, but I’m not sure if its meaning is transparent. It comes from a sentence of the 礼记 that reads as follows: “布得和令，行庆惠施“. In the translation I’ve seen: “Spread the policy of benevolence, holding ceremony, sharing generosity”. I’m also not sure in which tone 令 should be read here.
- 博良: Or maybe some variation such as 博禄, 博伦 or even–who knows–博柳?
- 柏伦: I think this may be too offbeat, but, as I said, I’m drawn to nature-related characters.
- 若水: This one is the exception, as it doesn’t sound at all like my original name. I’ve included it among the contenders because I just like it very much. If I come to abandon the principle of phonetic similarity, I guess that would be my choice.
Thank you all for the invaluable and very timely help!