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Translating Baby Names

March 3, 2010

Talk about a niche translation service. Today Translations, a British translation company will “certify” unusual baby names for ambitious couples who want exotic names for their children. For about $1,700, the company’s translators will perform a name translation audit, providing parents-to-be with the meaning of their child’s chosen name in over 100 languages.

Suri Cruise, the daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, became the poster child for name picks with unintended meanings. In 2006, the couple said that they chose the name in part because Suri means “princess” in Hebrew, but this was disputed. In other languages, Suri’s meaning proved less flattering. In Japanese, Suri means “pickpocket.” In French it means “turned sour,” and in an Indian dialect it means “pointy nose.” Perhaps a less than ideal name then for the daughter of international stars who frequently travel the globe.

Today Translations’ new service would prevent celebrity couples and regular folk from picking names with negative associations in foreign languages. This may seem trivial, but in our increasingly globalized world, your child may thank you down the road if they end up living in Europe or doing a semester abroad.  As Jurga Zilinskiene, the company’s chief executive said, “at the end of the day, it’s something a person has to live with for the rest of their lives.”

Morningside does not yet offer a baby names translation service, but if any of our clients are debating baby names at home and would like an outside opinion, feel free to try a few out on us. We promise to give each name a thumbs up or thumbs down vote, and we are glad to offer this service absolutely free.