Languages › Mandarin Mandarin Chinese Names of North American Cities Mandarin Geographical Names Share Flipboard Email Print Richard Sharrocks/Getty Images Mandarin Vocabulary Mandarin History and Culture Pronunciation Understanding Chinese Characters by Qiu Gui Su Qiu Gui Su is a native Mandarin speaker who has taught Mandarin Chinese for over 20 years. Updated April 08, 2019 Mandarin Chinese has a relatively limited stock of phonetics compared with other languages. When it comes to translating Western geographical names into Chinese characters, a close phonetic match is attempted. Consideration must also be given to the meaning of the chosen Chinese characters. Most geographical names are chosen as phonetic approximations of the Western names, but a few place names are descriptive. San Francisco, for example, is Jiù Jīn Shān, which translates as “Old Gold Mountain,” reminding us of the California gold rush. Most Mandarin Chinese geographical names sound strange to Western ears. This is because there is usually not an exact phonetic equivalent to the sounds of the English names. North American Cities Click on the links to hear the audio. English Name Chinese Characters Pinyin New York 紐約 niǔ yuē Boston 波士頓 bō shì dùn Montreal 蒙特婁 méng tè lóu Vancouver 溫哥華 wēn gē huá Toronto 多倫多 duō lún duō Los Angeles 洛杉磯 luò shān jī San Francisco 舊金山 jiù jīn shān Chicago 芝加哥 zhī jiā gē Seattle 西雅圖 xī yǎ tú Miami 邁阿密 mài ā mì Houston 休斯頓 xiū sī dùn Portland 波特蘭 bō tè lán Washington 華盛頓 huá shèng dùn New Orleans 紐奧良 niǔ ào liáng Philadelphia 費城 fèi chéng Detroit 底特律 dǐ tè lǜ Dallas 達拉斯 dá lā sī Atlanta 亞特蘭大 yà tè lán dà San Diego 聖地牙哥 shèng dié yá gē Las Vegas 拉斯維加斯 lā sī wéi jiā sī Continue Reading Step-by-Step Guide to Learning Chinese How Did Mandarin Become China's Official Language? How Many Chinese Characters Do You Really Need to Know? How Do You Use Time Phrases in Mandarin Chinese? Why Mandarin Chinese is harder than you think Do You Know How to Write in Chinese Using Phonetic Input Method? Why Is the Chinese Character for Horse so Important? Mandarin Chinese Sentence Structure Mandarin Chinese Christmas Vocabulary Chinese Names—Choosing a Good Mandarin Name How to Say "Hello" in Mandarin Chinese Mandarin Chinese Names of Common Birds Learning Mandarin Chinese "Love" Vocabulary How to Say "And" in Chinese Learning the Building Blocks of Chinese Characters What Does "Mama Huhu" Mean in Mandarin Chinese?