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Teen Rakes In Thousands Picking Out English Names For Chinese Babies

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

A British teenager has made tens of thousands of dollars selecting English names for Chinese children online, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Cheltenham Ladies College student Beau Jessup, 16, has made over $84,000 helping Chinese parents choose suitable English names for their children. A growing trend in China, Chinese parents often give their children English names to ensure they’ll be able to pursue a bright future in the West.

Unlike many English names, Chinese names have clear meanings, and sometimes parents make the mistake of translating names directly, producing names like Rainbow and Fish. Others choose names from pop culture, like Gandalf and Anakin Skywalker. Some even pick the English names for things they like, leaving kids with names like Sunflower and Waterfall.

Jessup helps Chinese children avoid future social awkwardness in Western environments by offering more reasonable suggestions to parents.

Her website, specialname.cn, allows parents to identify the gender of their child, select five defining character traits for their child, and then purchase an English name generated by “experts.” A name costs about $10; however, there are deals and discounts.

Jessup’s website has been operational for six months, and in that time, she has named around 232,000 children.

Specialname user Wang Songbu told Gloucestershire Live, “I chose Nathan because it sounds strong, what’s more, I have seen the definition from my specialname certificate; Nathan means ‘generous’. I think a good man should be generous, then women will like him.”

Jessup came up with the idea on a trip to China, during which a friend asked her to pick an English name for their newborn baby. She spends two hours each day talking with customers and working to improve her website.

Jessup is reportedly saving the money she earns from the Specialname project for college. She also enjoys her work. “There are babies being born every day, and they all need a special name. I like the idea of providing a service that enhances such a happy occasion,” Jessup explained to Gloucestershire Live.

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