Is there a reference for first names and surnames in English? I have lots of firstnames and surnames in my book (e.g. Juan, Sri, Elena, Robert and so on) but I don't know how to pronounce them in British accent and American accent? Can I rely on Google Translate pronunciation?

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    "Robert" is the only English name in that bunch. There's no "correct" pronunciation of the others in English. For English names, yes, Google Translate is reliable.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 7:16
  • The character 'Don Juan' used to be pronounced 'JOO-an' by English speakers, but thanks to radio and TV I think we all know enough to make a stab at the Spanish 'Hwan'. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 7:43
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    @KateBunting - similar to Don Quick Soat. When I first heard it spoken, as a child, I wondered who Donkey Hotay was. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately this is not generally possible. Individuals may prefer idiosyncratic pronunciations of their names. For example I know some people named "Sarah" who prefer SAH-ruh over the more normal SEIR-uh. Is "Juan" pronounced with an English "J" sound, or more like the Spanish original (or even as "Ewan"). Only the individual can tell you.

Families from non-English backgrounds may choose names matching their family's origin, and the children (who may not speak the language) might use various Anglisiations. "Sri", for example is an Indian name, found (with different pronunciations) in several Indian languages. It is usually anglicised as "Shree" but this far from universal. Native speakers of English won't know, automatically, how to pronounce the huge variety of ethic names that English people have.

And with more parents choosing "unique" names, the pronunciation may be at the whim of the parents.

But Google Translate is as good a guide as any, at least it can tell you the usual pronunciation of English names, and if someone's name is mispronunced by Google Translate, then it is probably going to be mispronunced by lots of natives speakers too.

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