Many of my foreign-born students have names that are difficult for native speakers of English to pronounce. Some of them decide to change their name to a similar sounding English name, and others prefer to keep their original name and just accept the fact that they will have to teach people how to say it.
Here is an interesting article about research done by business professors of three major universities about how the pronunciation of your name might affect your professional success. According to them, if your name is easy to pronounce you are more likely to get ahead. Adam L. Alter, professor or marketing from New York University, says: “People tend to feel more positive about things that are easy to process mentally, and with work colleagues that means better relationships.”
What are your opinions on this topic? What are your personal experiences?
Here are my thoughts:
- Your foreign name may contain sounds that do not exist in English. Will it bother to hear your beautiful name wrongly pronounced ALL the time?
- If you keep your original name, be prepared for regular comments such as “What kind of name is that?” and “Can you tell me your name again?” Will that annoy you after a while?
- Some people may actually perceive your accent to be stronger due to your foreign sounding name. It happens subconsciously.
- If you are getting a job which requires you to regularly interact with new people, a name that is easy to pronounce will make life easier. But if you work with the same colleagues every day, using your foreign sounding name would be much less of an issue. You’ll have time to teach everyone how to say it.