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Guide to Spellings of Foreigner's Names in Kana Orders

One resource that we use in name translations is "katakana kara hiku gaikoku jinmei tsuzurikata jiten" which translates as "Guide to Spellings of Foreigner's Names in Kana Orders"

Here are the particulars:

Guide to Spellings of Foreigner's Names in Kana Orders
Katakana kara hiku gaikoku jinmei tsuzurikata jiten / [henshū Nichigai Asoshiētsu]
カタカナから引く外国人名綴り方字典/ [編集日外アソシエーツ]
Copyright 2002 Nichigai Associates, Inc.

This book is primarily used to determine the original name given the Japanese transliteration. An excerpt is given below:

Notice that the name Avitus is written at least four different ways and Ava two. The reason that the same name can have different rendering in Japanese is that names have different pronunciations. In this book, and in all sources I have seen, the pronunciation is not given. Hence these sources are not useful for determining how to render a particular pronunciation of a name in Japanese.

And this is precisely why we include the pronunciation in our translations. If you search for Ava on (see Ava) you will notice that we have three variations and we give the pronunciation. Hence one can easily select the translation of a name the corresponds to how the name is pronounced.

While this book then is not particularly useful in itself for determining a particular translation of a name it is useful in that it gives many of the variations of how a name is written. You can find this book at your larger University libraries - especially ones with a good Asian Studies department. If you happen to be in Hawaii, UH Manoa Hamilton library has the book see

We take great care in our translations of names to Japanese. For more information see Your Name in Japanese

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