When we go to Japan or simply want to know what our name is in Japanese, one of the first questions that comes to our minds is: “What is your name in Japanese?
CAN MY NAME BE WRITTEN AND TRANSLATED INTO JAPANESE?
Technically, proper names generally cannot or should not be translated (to translate it would be necessary to look for an equivalence of meaning, as could be done if your name is Luz and we translate it as Hikari).
Generally, what is usually done is to transliterate, that is, to transfer a name from one writing system to another. In the case of Japanese, we must also make a phonetic adaptation, that is, adapt the pronunciation of your name to the structure and sounds available in Japanese.
What spellings are used to write names in Japanese?
In Japanese, foreign names are written with one of the two syllabaries with which Japanese is written: katakana. Remember that if your name is Japanese you should not use Katakana, as in the case of our daughters Yui and Yuna, it would be written in Hiragana. That said, let’s see how to use the syllabary spellings.
Each spelling represents a syllable, which is why we call it a syllabary and not an alphabet.
KATAKANA TABLE FOR WORDS, ONOMATOPOEIAS AND FOREIGN NAMES
The small kana tsu doubles the consonant of the following kana
The kana ー prolongs the length of the preceding vowel.
- If you want to see it bigger, you can download your full-color katakana chart here.
The following spellings are also used to write some sounds that do not exist in Japanese words:
|シェ = she
|ティ = ti
|ディ = di
|ジェ = je
|トゥ = tu
|ドゥ = du
To write your name in Japanese, you must look up the syllable-for-syllable equivalence. For example, if you search for “Anita”, you should look for the syllables A, NI and TA, which are written ア, ニ and タ respectively. Thus, “Anita” is written アニタ.
You should look for names as you pronounce them and not as you write them:
RULES FOR WRITING NAME IN JAPANESE CHANGE LETTERS
But there are Spanish sounds that do not exist in Japanese, such as the L. If your name has an L, just change it to an R. The same goes for the following sounds:
If your name has two consonants together you must add a U to separate them (except when the first consonant is a T or D: in those cases you add an O). Do the same if any syllable of your name ends with a consonant (other than N, ン):
Ejemplo: OBED ➔ Obeddo ➔ オベッド
If your name is not Spanish, look it up as you pronounce it:
|Jenny / Jeni
If you consider it necessary, for aesthetics, or so that they know where the tilde goes, you can add a vowel lengthening line to indicate which syllable is the stressed syllable:
Thaïs ➔ TA-Í-SU (タイース)
foreign names in Japanese in katakana, in case you need to study phonetics and spelling (the video has a meme of the death note, the name is written inside).
KATAKANA NAME EXERCISES IN JAPANESE FOR FOREIGNERS
Aquí podéis descargar los ejercicios que pedisteis, cada uno tiene su nombre en el archivo (Va a mega).
INTERACTIVE KATAKANA EXERCISES
EXERCISE 1: IMAGE DRAGGING (KATAKANA)
EXERCISE 2: DRAG THE KATAKANA TO THE CORRESPONDING SYLLABLE
HOW TO PRONOUNCE MY NAME IN KATAKANA
In the first 4 exercises listen to the sound and link with arrows to the correct syllable: