How would you translate the English expression "what's your name?” into Italian? Is it "qual è il tuo nome?" or something else?
"Qual è il tuo nome?" is correct, but it's rarely used. "Come ti chiami?" is more frequent.
Moreover, please note that while in English "You" is used even with strangers, in Italian there's a difference:
- If you know who you're talking with, or you're in a very informal context, you have to use the second person singular (eg "Come ti chiami?")
- Else, you have to use the third person singular feminine (eg "Come si chiama [implied: lei]?")
The most common Italian form used to ask a person's name is "Come ti chiami?" which can be translated into English as something like "How are you called?". To be honest, its literal translation would be "How do you call yourself?", which would sound funny.
As pointed out in other answers, one can distinguish two situations:
In informal contexts, like everyday life, flirting, getting to know new classmates, "put-your-situation-here", you can safely (and it is common practice too) use the phrase "Come ti chiami?".
In formal contexts, like talking with important people, you are encouraged to use a forma di cortesia. It is not contemplated in contemporary English, but it can be found in languages such as Italian or German. Thus, some formal phrases are "Qual è il Suo nome?" or "Come si chiama Lei?". In German, it would sound like "Entschuldigen Sie bitte, wie heißen Sie?". Note that, when referring to a person with formal phrases, the third singular feminine form of the personal pronoun is used.
You could say it as
Come ti chiami?
Come si chiama?
The first one is informal but the second one is formal.
You would use the first one when talking to friends, family, or anyone your age.
You would use the second one when talking to professors and older people.
Hope this helps!!!