What's in a name? More than you might think

LONDON Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:08pm EST

Actor Tom Cruise (R) waves to fans upon his arrival with his wife Katie Holmes (C) and their daughter Suri at Narita International Airport March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Actor Tom Cruise (R) waves to fans upon his arrival with his wife Katie Holmes (C) and their daughter Suri at Narita International Airport March 8, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A London-based translation firm is offering parents-to-be the chance to check the meaning of prospective baby names in other languages to avoid inadvertently causing their offspring future embarrassment.

Celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might have thought twice about naming their daughter Suri if they'd known that it means "pickpocket" in Japanese, "turned sour" in French, and "horse mackerels" in Italian, suggest Today Translations.

For 1,000 pounds ($1,678), the company's linguists will carry out a "basic name translation audit" of names, checking their meaning in 100 languages, or more for an additional cost.

While open to everyone, the firm said it expects the service is likely to attract celebrity clients, who are known for giving their babies unusual names.

Other celebrity baby names it has checked include Kai Rooney, the newborn son of English soccer player Wayne Rooney, whose name means "probably" in Finnish, "pier" in Estonian, and "stop it" in the west African language of Yoruba.

And while musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale may have known Zuma meant "peace" in Arabic when choosing their son's name, they may not have been aware it also translates as "Lord frowns in anger" in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.

Some unusual celebrity baby name choices are beyond easy translation however, the company admits, such as Jermajesty -- the son of Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Steve Addison)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video