UK teen makes a name with English monikers

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ANGUS McNEICE in Lon­don angus@mail.chi­nadai­

Bri­tish school­girl and busi­ness owner Beau Jes­sup is team­ing up with a Chi­nese web­site for mothers, BabyTree, to help par­ents pick English names for their chil­dren.

Less than two years ago, Jes­sup, now 17, cre­ated the web­site Spe­cialName, a baby nam­ing ser­vice that has since gen­er­ated more than 260,000 English names for Chi­nese users. The site has earned her 50,000 pounds ($62,358).

In her part­ner­ship with BabyTree, Jes­sup will write a weekly blog that ex­plores the ori­gins and mean­ings be­hind English names and of­fers read­ers tips on how to choose an ap­pro­pri­ate one.

“It’s quite over­whelm­ing, be­cause I didn’t ex­pect it to be­come this big,” Jes­sup said. “I was in China with my dad when he was do­ing busi­ness about two years ago. One of his work col­leagues asked me to sug­gest an English name for her 3-year-old daugh­ter.”

Jes­sup asked the woman to de­scribe her daugh­ter and learned she liked to sur­prise peo­ple with her achieve­ments.

“I gave it some thought and sug­gested El­iza, in­spired by Pyg­malion (the play byGe­orge Bernard Shaw). That’s where the idea sprang from,” she said.

Sheend­edupcre­at­ing a web­site with 4,000 English names.

Vis­i­tors click on the gen­der andthen se­lect five char­ac­ter­is­tics from a list of 12 that in­clude elegance, in­tel­li­gence, sen­si­tiv­ity and hon­esty. The site gen­er­ates three names that match those qual­i­ties. Users pay 60 pence to ac­cess the ser­vice.

WuMeng, a user­fromChina, heard about the site from a friend and chose thenameDaisy for her daugh­ter.

“Hav­ing an English has be­come es­sen­tial she said.

Jes­sup said the de­ci­sion of many Chi­nese peo­ple to se­lect an English al­ter­na­tive to their name re­flects the rapid in­crease in cross-cul­tural links.

“Be­cause of busi­ness and ed­u­ca­tion, there’s an in­creas­ing amount of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with theWest,” Jes­sup said. name nowa­days,”

Lind­sayJerni­gan, aUSc­i­t­i­zen in Shang­hai, started a nam­ing web­site called BestEnglishName, which is now the bilin­gual mul­ti­me­dia site Benku8. She said Chi­nese peo­ple have at times ended up with inappropriate names drawn­fromWestern brands or pop cul­ture, such as Rolex or Gan­dalf.

“Some­times, it comes from di­rect trans­la­tion of a Chi­nese name. Some­one will say, ‘my Chi­nese name means green, can I be called Green?’” Jerni­gan told China Daily.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to ex­plain that you­can­be­called Vi­o­le­tor Scar­let, but it would be strange to be called Green.”

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