Languages › Mandarin Choosing a Chinese Name as a Student Getting a Good Mandarin Name Share Flipboard Email Print Iain Masterton / Getty Images Mandarin Mandarin History and Culture Pronunciation Vocabulary Understanding Chinese Characters By Qiu Gui Su Chinese Language Expert Qiu Gui Su is a native Mandarin speaker who has taught Mandarin Chinese for over 20 years. our editorial process Qiu Gui Su Updated February 24, 2019 Students of Mandarin usually adopt a Chinese name. There are a few reasons for this: It provides a glimpse into Chinese cultureIt makes introductions easier when visiting Chinese-speaking countriesIt provides good tonal and pronunciation practice Western names can be transcribed into Chinese, and this is often done for celebrities and politicians. Elizabeth Taylor is known in Chinese-speaking countries as yī lì shā bái tài lè (伊莉莎白泰勒). Choose a "Real" Name Such a name, however, is not a Chinese name, which usually consists of three characters. Many people from Mainland China use two-character names. There is an art to choosing good names, and many parents consult a fortune-teller to name their newborn child. A good name is expected to pave the way to a successful and prosperous life. Students of Mandarin don’t need to consult a fortune teller. You can ask a Chinese-speaking friend to give you a name, or you can consult a name book or use online and offline tools. Tools for Choosing Mandarin Names Whichever name you choose, it should be fairly easy to write and easy to pronounce. It’s no good if you can’t say your own name! Many of the online resources for picking Chinese names are next to useless. They usually translate a given name and don’t include a surname. But the Mandarin Tools website has a highly recommended tool for choosing a Chinese name. An offline version of this tool is available as part of DimSum Chinese Tools.