Translate name to japanese kanji
  • Hello,

    I am attempting to translate a (german) Surname into japanese Kanji. If you feel this is stupid please feel free to say so as I am not so sure of it myself...

    The name is "Schumeier" (it means "maker of shoes")
    The sylables as I can imagine them pronounced in japanese are: Shu-mai-er

    This is what I have come up with:
    shu: 一念
    mai: 売
    er: ?

    Am I making any sense?
    Thank you very much!
  • I guess you could come up with some kanji to write your name, but that's not usual practice and I'd advice against it.

    Chinese only uses "kanji" and therefore, if you want to write a foreign name in Chinese, you'll have to use "kanji".

    In Japanese, on the other hand, there are also two phonetic writing systems, called katakana and hiragana. And the usual and official way to write a foreign name is to use katakana. In fact, writing your name in kanji on a business card would look quite strange.

    With that being said, yes, the first step is to convert your name into syllables that occur in Japanese.

    Japanese doesn't quite have the German "er" sound, so we will have to opt for something similar. As far as pronunciation goes, the closest equivalent of Schumeier in Japanese would be like "Schuu"-"ma"-"i"-"a". Now writing that with katakana yields:
    シュー(schuu)マ(ma)イ(i)ア(a)

    So my recommendation would be: シューマイア.
  • Thanks, I will look into katakana! :)
    The (a) sound fits very well.
  • Could you explain the シュー ?
    It looks like it means tsuyu - why the yu?

    I might go with シー (tsu) or スー (su) ?
    マ ma is perfect
    イi
    アa

    or ヤ for ya?

    Are there any unicode katakana fonts that I can just copy these シウマイア into and use? The only ones I have found are ttf fonts that are remapped. ( シ=D イ = 1 etc.)

    It's not my name btw. my name is "Wisniewski", is that hard for japanese to pronounce? (its a polish name)
    ヰシニエ ヰ シキ ?
  • can I use this together with kanji? like this:
    先生 シューマイア ?
  • >Could you explain the シュー ?
    Two things going on here:
    1) The "dash" ー: It simply indicates that the preceding vowel sounds is elongated (twice as long as normal, like the different between "Butter" and Schuh")
    2) The small ュ: Indicates "fusion" with the preceding syllable. "Schi"+"you"=Schuh. I don't won't to go into the details here, the process is called "palatalization" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatalization If you're interested, you might also want to look up Japanese phonology.

    >I might go with シー (tsu) or スー (su) ?
    First of all, pay attention:
    ツ (two vertical small strokes side-by-side, and the long stroke more vertical than horizontal) is "tsu"; and シ(two diagonal small strokes, one on top of the other, and the long one more horizontal than vertical) is "shi".

    Secondly, my native language is German. To my ears, ツtsu doesn't sound like how I would pronounce Schuhmeier at all (but see above, was probably just a mistake). スsu sounds closer, but シュー is better, it's pronounced almost the same as Schuh (except for the "u" sound)

    >アa or ヤja for "er"?
    I guess that comes down to personal preference. Think about how you want your name to sound. One thing to keep in mind though: ヤ is pronounced "ya" or "ja" (German for yes), and the "j" sound is actually just the consonant version of the vowel "i".
    So マイア would already ma-i-a would include a "j" sound, just as in German, if you pronounce "Meier" at normal speed it sounds like "meija".

    >Are there any unicode katakana fonts
    Collection of fonts: http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/Fonts_Japanese.html
    List of fonts supporting katakana: http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/block/katakana/fontsupport.htm
    I think the normal fonts included in Windows should support kana? (at least if you install them, just google it)

    >The only ones I have found are ttf fonts that are remapped. ( シ=D イ = 1 etc.)
    How did you find that? And here I was, thinking that some basic support of unicode would be almost the standard nowadays...

    >can I use this together with kanji? like this: 先生 シューマイア ?
    Yes, you can. But remember that the title goes after the name, so シューマイア先生.

    >"Wisniewski"
    I don't know how exactly this is pronounced, but it still looks good (for Japanese to pronounce.)
    Japanese phonology is basically like this:
    (consonant)-vowel-(consonant)-vowel-(consonant)-vowel...
    Japanese is very rich in vowels and consonant-clusters are among the hardest sounds to pronounce, like "krstmnop". And making a clear difference between "r" and "l", of course.

    As I said, I'm not certain how your name is actually pronounced, but I guess it would somewhat like ビシネフスキ or ウイスニウスキー (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/アンドリアス・ウイスニウスキー) or ウィズニュースキー.
  • yes, I guessed from your name that you are german :)

    I totally trust your judgement since I have absolutly no idea how japanese is pronounced. I just wanted to understand. :)

    I found the font in a normal font collection on the web when searching for "katakana" and I couldnt find any unicode versions. :( thanks for the link! I do have katakana installed on my system but they dont look very nice and some are in a very different style then others - so I'll try the fonts you posted the link to.

    Thanks a lot for teaching!
    おしえてくれて ありがとうございました!

    Vielen Dank! Wünsche noch eine schöne Woche!

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