Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Name "Scott" Transliterated into Chinese

Some years ago I bought the X-Men 2 DVD, which has Chinese subtitles, so that I could watch it multiple times, possibly without audio, to practice reading Chinese characters. One X-Man's name is Scott, which is transliterated into Chinese as 史考特 (Shǐkǎotè). This is one of those instances wherein an English s sound is transliterated into a Pinyin sh sound, which always seems a tad odd to me. 蘇珊 (Sūshān) for Susan is another (okay, okay, that second s in Susan is pronounced like a z in English).

I found 3 additional transliterations of "Scott" in Chinese dictionary apps which used the Pinyin s sound instead of the Pinyin sh sound:
  • 司各特 (Sīgètè)
  • 斯哥特 (Sīgētè)
  • 斯考特 (Sīkǎotè)
The Pinyin ka sound (e.g., 卡 kǎ) may have been a better choice for the second Pinyin syllable. However, the original transliteration might not have been into Mandarin, but into a different Chinese dialect, in which the sound of the character was indeed closer to the English sound.

Anyway, in Flushing, NY, I saw an office's large bilingual streetfront sign asserting wide acceptance of the Pinyin sh transliteration:

ScottTrade 史考特證券
(Shǐkǎotè zhèngquàn; Scott "negotiable securities", i.e., stocks and bonds)

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