View Full Version : Name translations.

09-18-2005, 08:23 PM
Hi, strange request coming up!

Does anyone know of a website that can change English names into foreign names?
I am looking to translate the name "John Smith" into as many languages as possible. ( A site i could type John Smith into and then see a longggggg list of foreign equivalents/closest matches would be a dream!)

For example i am reasonably certain the french for John is Jean but i don't know the french equivalent of Smith ( Le Smith? lol)

Another example would be the german for Smith being Schmidt/Schmitt and other spelling variables, but i don't know if the closest equivalent of John in German would be Johan or Jurgen or Joachim or possibly something else.

Spanish for John = Jose? No idea for the Smith part.

Failing a link, I would be very grateful if anyone who is certain of a translation could post it for me in the other language. Any language short of Klingon is of interest to me in my research! ;)

Obviously Smith is derived from the Old English for "metal worker" so I would hazard a guess that it has a similar origin in other languages, but "john"???

Thanks to any and all who can help me. Kindest Regards, Rum

three seven
09-18-2005, 08:29 PM
One thing I can tell you is that there's no French translation for Smith - and in fact, the German Schmidt is only a linguistic equivalent and not a sociological one.

09-18-2005, 08:39 PM
I'm pretty sure most names don't translate exactly. Take my name, McCarty, it's irish and there is just no equivalent. People didn't move to another country and change their name to fit the language. Now if you mean what name in say Indian would be similar to the American Smith, Patel is the most common last name in Inida. Gozales- Mexico, etc. As far as exact translations...it's not gonna happen and still be realistic.

09-18-2005, 08:39 PM
Cheers three seven, in the case of there being no direct french translation of the 'name" smith, i may have to rely on the french word for "smith/smithy" or Iron-worker or something. Same with a few other languages I guess. Thanks for your input.

scfirenice. Hi, you are right, failing direct(-ish) translations of the name Smith or the job of Smith/Smithy i might have to rely on a most popular national equivalent such as Patel etc. I was tempted to ask in my first post but didn't want to confuse a potentially (all ready) confusing post ;)

09-18-2005, 11:38 PM
Sorry, I can't help you with a site, but the Italian version of your John Smith could be GIOVANNI (or GIANNI for short) FABBRI (directly derived from "fabbro" which is Italian for blacksmith)

09-18-2005, 11:57 PM
Thank you Raffaella.

09-19-2005, 12:35 AM
Glad I could help.
Your project seems interesting and fun, although using translation programs could result in unwanted humour, especially with names which are extremely tricky. A friend of mine tried to use an automatic translation program to translate an essay on Dante Alighieri in English and the devilish thing kept turning poor Dante into "giving". It wasn't necessarily wrong but certainly hilarious.

Good luck.

09-19-2005, 01:02 AM
Spanish for John would be Juan rather than Jose - Jose being the Spanish version of Joseph.

Ian in Gaelic (Scots or Irish) would be John. Ivan is the Russian.

09-19-2005, 01:45 AM
thanks for the information and the correction johnnysannie http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

09-21-2005, 08:09 PM
The Dutch (literal) 'translation' of John Smith would be Johan Smid or Johan de Smid (sounds a bit more common than without the 'de'). Try to find some info on biblical names - a lot of Western names derived from people named in the Bible no matter what language.

09-22-2005, 12:05 AM
Thanks Impuls!

For anyone who is interested (anyone? :P) the Romanian would be..

Ion Lacatus.

09-22-2005, 12:10 AM
I don't know of a specific online resource, but I'd suggest looking at the baby name books in your local library or bookstore. I use baby name books often to come up with character names. Several books out there give alternate spellings for names and also break them down by nationality. I know I've seen extensive lists for the name John. I've also got a name book specifically for last names. Smith might be in there.

I think other threads somewhere on AW give links to baby name sites. You might try searching for "baby name".

EDIT: Sorry, I just noticed your location is Romania, so the suggestion of local libraries and bookstores might not be valid (oops). I'd still suggest searching the AW board. I'm pretty sure other people have posted links to baby name sites.

09-22-2005, 05:44 PM
Hi TheIT.
It just translating the name John Smith i am interested in so a baby name book can't help me unfortunately. Thanks for the input though, Regards.

09-23-2005, 12:29 AM
Hi Rum, this might be a useful site if you know what to look for, but you have to dig around and it won't help with the last name. I tried it with Icelandic names and found 2 forms of John, so it's doable. Then you might join the Icelandic Association messageboard and ask for help with Smith... Just a suggestion.

www.behindthename.com/usage.php (http://www.behindthename.com/usage.php)

09-23-2005, 12:44 AM
thats very kind of you raffaella! Its a new site on me. I have seen a few similar that gave me good-ish results. As you mention i might have to join a few sites and actually ask people from various nations directly, its the only way to be 100% sure. I've had a few strange replies from elsewhere though along the lines of...

Chinese: Johnping Smithpong

Polish: Johnzkz Smithkzk

Russian: Johnski Smithski...etc etc i am sure you see the picture. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoteHammer.gif

The guys here have given the straightest, most trustworthy answers so...

Thanks again all

09-23-2005, 01:23 AM
Jyoun Sumisu would be the Japanese attempt. Hah.

09-23-2005, 02:56 PM
Not trying to be a nitpicker but the Japanese literal translation of ´smith´ is ´kajiya´.

09-23-2005, 10:07 PM
From The Very Best Baby Name Book in the whole wide world by Bruce Lansky:

JOHN: (Hebrew) God is gracious. Bible: Name honoring John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. See also Yochanan.

Eichanan, Jack, Jaenda, Jahn, Janak, Jen, Jhan, Jhanick, Jhon, Jian, Joen, Johan, Johne, Johni, Johniee, Johnnie, Johnny, Johnson, Jon, Jone, Jones

Foreign Forms:

Basque: Iban, Ugutz
Czech: Hanus, Honza, Ianos, Janco
Danish: Jens, Jensy
Dutch: Ioan, Jan, Jantje
English: Evan, Zane
Finnish: Hannes, Janne, Juhana
French: Jean, Jehan
German: Handel, Johann
Greek: Yanni, Yannis
Hausa: Yohance
Hawaiian: Keoni
Hungarian: Jacsl, Janos (accent over the a)
Irish: Keon, Sean
Italian: Geno, Gian, Giovanni
Latvian: Janis
Lithuanian: Jonas
Polish: Iwan, Janek, Jas
Portugese: Joao (accent over the a), Joao (~ over the a)
Russian: Ivan, Yan, Yanka
Scandinavian: Hans
Scottish: Ian
Slavic: Jovan
Spanish: Juan
Swedish: Jonam
Turkish: Ohannes
Welsh: Owen
Zuni: Kwam

SMITH: (as a first name) (English) blacksmith

Schmidt, Smid, Smidt, Smitt, Smitty, Smyth, Smythe

(No foreign forms listed)

I couldn't find my last name book, but if I do I'll post something about "Smith".

Hope this helps!

09-23-2005, 10:49 PM
It does indeed help TheIT, thank you for doing that for me. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

09-24-2005, 12:12 AM
Not trying to be a nitpicker but the Japanese literal translation of ´smith´ is ´kajiya´.

Not to be a nitpicker either, but... the Japanese rarely go for literal translations of foreign names these days -- they prefer transliteration. That, and 'Kajiya' is a very unlikely Japanese surname; I myself have never met, nor heard, of anyone w/ that name.

10-15-2005, 10:06 PM
i may have to rely on the french word for "smith/smithy" or Iron-worker or something... failing direct(-ish) translations of the name Smith or the job of Smith/Smithy i might have to rely on a most popular national equivalent such as Patel etc.

For French, you have two choices for Smith. Ferrier is a good translation (fer means iron, ferrier is one who works with iron). However, it's rare--like 851st-most-common, as opposed to being in the top 5 the way Smith is. It's pronounced to rhyme with Perrier (as in the spring water). The single most common surname in France is Martin, but that has nothing to do with smithies. Here is a site listing the most common last names in France:

If you look closely you'll see two names that are just spelling variants of the same name: LeFebvre (#13) and LeFevre (#28) (I can't type the accents on the -e-, but they're visible on the site). If you add the numbers of people with those names you get over 130,000, making it the second-most-common name in France. And fevrie means smithy, so LeFebvre/LeFevre means The Smith. Voila, that's your best choice. And yes, Jean is French for John in both meaning and frequency.

10-24-2005, 09:56 PM
If I'm not too late, here are a few, using "Smith" to mean metalworker. At least the first three are common enough that you could give a character that name and it would be common-sounding.

Ivan is John. Pronounced Eevan to rhyme with tea Bonn, not Eye-ven. The Cyrillic spelling is иван
Kuznyetsov is Smith. Pronounced Kooznyetsoff. The Cyrillic spelling is кузнецов
(If you can't see the Cyrillic, in Internet Explorer: view > encoding > Cyrillic)

Hovhannes is John. (Pronounced like it looks, since it's a transliteration)
Darbinian is Smith. Sometimes people write the -ian as -yan. And actually, since -ian is "son," it must be "son of a metalworker," but "Darbin" isn't a name. I don’t have Armenian software installed on this computer, so you’re not getting is spelled out…unless you really need it. :)
(Hovhannes Darbinian is a musician, by the way)

Since you’re in Romania, you may know this already, but…
Janos (accent over the "a") is John. Pronounced Yanosh to rhyme with yawn toasht (like toast, but with "sh". :Huh: )
Kovacs (accent over the "a" again). Pronounced Kovach to rhyme with no watch.
Keep in mind the order is family name then given name, so the name is written Kovacs Janos.

Iranian/Persian sort of:
Yahya is John, but it’s Arabic I think. I don’t know if there’s an actual Farsi equivalent.
Ahangar is Smith.
And I never did have Farsi software. Sorry. :tongue

And since you've already got the Turkish "John" up there, I'm pretty sure Temirzi (Temirçi with a cedilla c) is "Smith"

-- Z