BEIJING — What’s in a name? If it’s Donald Trump in Chinese, it could be as controversial as the president is back home.
Trump’s official Chinese name is Te Lang Pu. That translates to “extraordinary, bright and popular” — the of kind of name he might choose for himself.
But it also can mean “unusual, loud and common,” surely the preference for his detractors in the United States.
The reason for such stark differences is that translations of foreign names are based on, which are words, not letters. As a result, when you write a foreign name in Chinese, you add meaning whether you intend to or not.
Because of the potential for offense, China has an official name translation department inside the state-run. Those workers translate dozens of foreign names every day, and if they have a potentially sensitive one, they run it by the Foreign Ministry for approval.
Li Xuejun, the head of the department, said it has been busy in recent weeks with naming the new political leaders in Washington.
Secretary of State nomineebecomes Di Le Sen, which translates to “stem, coerce, dark.” adviser is Kang Wei, meaning “healthy, leather hide.” And , Trump’s nominee for Interior secretary is Jin Ke, which means “ferry crossing, gram or saliva, digest.”