I'm interested in the romanization system, or similar systems to, the one that produced translations such as "Confucius" and "Mencius". These names are very easy for non-Chinese speakers to pronounce. I've read that these came from very early romanization work by "various missionaries", but there's very little information about them. If anyone knows of good resources or books, that would be great.

In my case, I'm mainly interested in Mandarin romanizations that sound "familiar" and are easy to pronounce by English speakers, which sometimes means sacrificing consistency, accuracy or precision. For this purpose, I don't like Pinyin because some letters are pronounced much differently than in English, nor do I like Wade-Giles because it uses diacritics which are very foreign to English speakers.

  • There's not much on the Latin transcription system because most of the information that may have been published about it was lost.
    – dda
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


Confucius is a latin transliteration as opposed to an English one. Etymology might be a good starting point: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Confucius

This article is probably highly relevant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesuit_China_missions

Further reading: http://www.amazon.com/WINDOWS-INTO-CHINA-JESUITS-1580-1730/dp/B000ID3EIE

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