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How to Say Chinese Names in English

with 166,872 Chinese first and last names

and 816 audios of all Mandarin Chinese syllables and their closest English pronunciations

Quick start

Chinese names can be difficult to say for non-Chinese speakers (for example, try to say "Zixuan" or my name "Boxiao"). This website shows you the easiest way to say the names of your Chinese friends, relatives, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, students, subordinates, professors, managers, clients, business partners, competitors, and officials. Hopefully, this will reduce the communication barrier and make your neighborhood and workplace a little bit more diverse and inclusive than yesterday.

Simply enter the first or last name (not together) you want to search in the search box (the magnifying glass icon on the top right corner) to learn its pronunciation.

Try "Zixuan", "Boxiao", "Beijing", and "Shanghai" to see how it works. The goal is to help you say Chinese syllables in their closest English pronunciations without learning Chinese. Find more about this website here.

Basic knowledge of Chinese names
  • Mandarin Chinese syllables are Romanized in English alphabet called "Pinyin" ("spell of sounds").
  • Chinese family names usually have one syllable, and given names usually no more than two. Some rare family names have two syllables, such as Ouyang, Sima, and Zhuge. Each Chinese character is one syllable.
  • In China, people state their last names (family names) first, and first names (given names) last. I call myself Li Boxiao in China (Li is my family name), but in western countries, I call myself Boxiao Li, following the western tradition.
  • In news articles, famous Chinese figures are often referred in Chinese tradition, e.g., Xi Jinping (Xi is family name) and Yao Ming (Yao is family name).
Syllables in Chinese
Fun facts
  • All 4082+408=166,872 pronunciations of one- and two-syllable Chinese first and last names are covered in this website.
  • Not all Chinese nationals Romanize their names in Mandarin Pinyin. A different language or Pinyin system may be used. Read here for exceptions.
  • Very occasionally, a non-traditional Chinese given name might have more than two syllables.
  • It is common for two unrelated Chinese to share the same family name. Two people having the same given name is also possible but much less common.
  • Most Chinese provinces, cities, and streets are named in Pinyin, so they can be pronounced exactly as shown in this website.
  • Each Chinese syllable can be said in four major tones: high-flat, rising, dip-rise, and falling tones. Changing tones will change its meaning. The same syllable with the same tone can also correspond to different Chinese characters.
Acknowledgements

I thank Timothy Tokar, Adwait Chawathe, Amit Singh, Matthieu Rousset, Carla Co, Ruiting Wu, Yushi (Russell) Zhao, and Zhao (Zoe) Zhang from Chevron for their feedback, and my wife Liqin Sang for her continuous support. I thank my company Chevron for her persistent commitment in diversity and inclusion, which inspired the creation of this website.