I was wondering whether a wikipedia name exists listing all proper name correspondences between names in English and names in Italian. For example, John: Giovanni. It would even be good if there were a site that have international name correspondences, for example, even selecting more than one language (and transliteration character set at once); for example, with English, Italian, and Arabic, which has a different graphical letter representation system, the Wikipedia page or website would give, as an example: Joseph, Giuseppe, يوسف (Yusuf).

Chinese seems to have examples of transliteration, if this is what it's called (not sure if English to Italian would be considered a transliteration as well, as the character sets, roughly correspond), for just about any foreign name, providing a good example.

Not entirely sure how Italian is structured, whether it is name correspondencies for ecclesiastical or religion-based names, only (apart for Greek to Roman names, perhaps mostly corresponding to Greek to Roman mythology and others, if these are the ones used and do not have common Italian equivalents as well), or whether almost all names can have Italian correspondences (or whether it is simply offered to use the original name, in at most some mostly unaltered or slightly mispronounced form).

So perhaps it would be nice if such a site, also had IPA, next to each pronunciation, or close resemblance, since some complications may arise from sounds being available in one language but moot in the other, or the user may not be accustomed to reading rules and systems for the other language system (and may be deaf, so if playable media sounds were provided they may not provide a complete solution), or some language combinations of sounds could be difficult to pronounce in another language, even if all sounds were actually available in that other language.

I wonder whether it is even commonplace for names to have more than one "correct" transliteration, without translation mistakes. A mechanism similar to that in the web site WordReference, perhaps named NameReference, or something similar, where you could input a name and select language to language, see the results, then click back on one of the transliterations and see the results in the opposite direction would also be useful.

Thank you for your feedback.

  • 2
    Adding a few paragraph breaks would make the question much more readable. Possibly even a very short paragraph at the end summarizing the question.
    – Denis Nardin
    May 21, 2018 at 6:23
  • This sounds more like an idea for a new website than an actual question. Is the question “Does a website like what I have in mind already exist?”?
    – DaG
    May 21, 2018 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


TL; DR: Such a website is unrealistic, because the relationship between names in different languages are way to messy for it to be feasible.

Name correspondence between languages is always flawed and never perfect. For example, let us consider the Hebrew name Yeshua. It corresponds to two different names in Italian (as in English), Giosuè and Gesù, because it got imported twice in Latin and so two different versions spread around Europe. Another interesting example is the Hebrew name Yohannan. This corresponds to the Italian name Giovanni, but it has two different reflections in the English speaking world: John and Sean (the latter via Irish).

Most of the name correspondences that you see are coming when names are imported from a third language both in Italian and English. Note that not all names got imported, and as seen above some name got imported twice with different outcomes, so there is no regular correspondence.

Usually the source is one among Latin, Greek and Hebrew (for religious and historical reasons). There are a few examples coming from different languages (e.g. the Italian Maometto is coming from the Arabic Muhammad, or Gualtiero from the German Walter), but they are rare. For example Chinese or Japanese names do not, as a rule, have Italian equivalents.

So a website like you are envisioning cannot exist, because the mechanisms that move names around languages are messy and complicated. An etymological dictionary of names would be a more reasonable proposition.

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