How English Names Are Translated into Chinese
Please refer to http://www.chinese-tools.com/names for a list of Western names translated into Chinese characters.
Other Sources of Examples of Translated English Names
More to be added. Readers may search other Internet sources as well.
simplified characters in some Internet sources used for translated English names
are somewhat different from the traditional characters shown on this website.
Option 1("Phonetically"): Translation based on pronunciation of each English syllable
Each English syllable is usually equivalent to a Chinese character, sometimes with another Chinese character added for the last consonant. The translation is based on "sound" or "pronunciation" as listed in http://www.chinese-tools.com/names.
Example 1: Eric Kain = 艾利克 凱因
This is the default way of Joshua Hough's translation of English names. Then Chinese characters with beautiful structures and good meanings are selected from different styles of Chinese calligraphy. Unless requested by the buyers for "Option 2," the translation written with Chinese brush calligraphy are in accordance with this "Option 1" which is a more popular way. This popular way may be somewhat different among different translators; however, the Chinese pronunciations are all very close.
Option 2 ("Literarily" or "Philosophically"): Adopt a Chinese name based on your wish, philosophy, and etc.
When someone adopts a Chinese name, they pick up Chinese characters that resemble their personality, philosophy, wish, fortune, and etc. The result does not necessarily resemble the English pronunciation. The first character is the family name, the second and third characters give hint to one's personality, wish ... sometimes even a close pronunciation in a syllable of an English name. (The third character is not a middle name in Chinese. Chinese people do not have middle names - family names go first, then the given names follow. Given names are usually two characters. One-character given names are more concise and somewhat popular in China. One-character given names are less popular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other Asian countries.)
Joshua Hough may recommend meaningful Chinese characters if you choose this option.
Example 1: Eric Kain = 柯以立
Here is how this name derived from perspectives of pronunciation and personal philosophy.
孔子曰 Confucius said,
君子 A true gentleman
三十而立 becomes independent (or strong) when he is at age 30
四十而不惑 and will not be confused at age 40.
柯以立 = Kain Eric (pronounced as Ker Yee Lee)
Family name goes first in Chinese
"Ker" pronounced in between "Ke" and "Ker", with "r" a little de-emphasized; good match for Kain
立 pronounced as "Lee"
以 Thus, Become, Equal, Achieve
以立 as a strong, independent, and successful person
Example 2: James Cahill = 高居翰 (An author of "Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting." Professor of Art at U.C. Berkeley.) This Chinese name is very literary, a good match for the Professor's achievements in publishing art books.
Cahill is translated to "高" (pronounced Gao) which is somewhat similar phonetically.
"居" means living or to live with. "翰" (pronounced Han) means literary writing or artistic writing with Chinese brushes.