Sunday, July 19, 2009

from: Kama
date: Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 12:51 AM
subject: tattoo request

HanziSmatter site is amazing, great idea :) I love reading it. Chinese and Japanese characters looks great, but I still don't understand why people are tattooing their names in those languages, when they come from German, England or Poland, like me.

I guess they want to look cool, like my friend, who is 100% sure that he has "Julia" tattoo on his left hand.

Is he? Please, help me to translate it right (if it's not ok) because he is playing so smart, that would be a pleasure to prove him wrong ;)

Greetings from Poland,



is an acceptable phonetic Chinese translation for Julia, however all characters were done mirrored.


  1. Of course, the use of the female radical in 娅 suggests this to be a female Julia, while Kama's email suggests that his friend is a male... Not that 丽 (beauty) is any better for a male name.

    The entire name would probably have been transliterated differently (even if they still sound the same phonetically), if it was intended to be male.

  2. Glenn,

    I highly doubt any male would have the name, Julia.

    He probably got the name of his significant other, who is female.

  3. Certainly, to the best of my knowledge, Julia is traditionally a female name in the English-speaking world. But I don't know if that is the same case in Poland. I've heard no shortage of Russian and other foreign names that sound like they should be female names to most English speakers, and yet they were used as male names.

    You just never know...

  4. At first I thought the picture was reversed rather than the tattoo, but the writer Kama specifically says the tat is on the "left hand" so this is impossible.

    I guess his tattooed friend will have to stand by mirrors for the rest of his life, or at least until he gets the tat removed.

  5. The artist probably traced it, then flipped the paper to rub it on the skin and that's how they got mirrored.