What Does Your English Name Become in Spanish?

What’s in a Name?

Adopting a new name is a common first step when you start taking Spanish classes. Using Spanish names helps to promote immersion in and appreciation for the new culture that you are trying to learn about, and gives you a chance to practice forming the sounds of the new language on a constant basis. Switching from one name to the other–from Lisa to Josefina, for example–is also a way of flipping a switch in your subconscious that says, "Now it's Spanish time."

Not every instructor has you adopt a name. Of those they do, they may choose a name for you, offer you a choice from a list of Spanish name equivalents, or let you pick out of a baby-names book. You may also find that, when you travel to a Spanish-speaking country, locals are prone to rendering your name as it appears in their own language if there is a close equivalent. If you are lucky, you might already have a Spanish name, some of which have joined the American mainstream.

Men’s Names

Here is a list of some of the most common men's names as they correspond to both English and Spanish. The English names are listed in plain text, with their Spanish name equivalents in bold type. Notice that in some cases, as when the English Alfred or Robert becomes Alfredo or Roberto, the Spanish name equivalents just have an extra "o" at the end. However, there are some less-obvious correspondences too, so do not assume that just sticking an "o" at the end of your name does the job.

In a few cases, the name's spelling does not alter when translated from English into Spanish, but these "identical" names often sound different when pronounced following the Spanish pronunciation norms.

Alex/Alexander – Alejandro

Alfred – Alfredo

Anthony – Antonio

Charles/Charlie – Carlos

Christopher – Cristóbal

Daniel – Danilo

David – David

Doug – Diego

Edward – Eduardo

George – Jorge

Henry – Enrique

James – Jaime

John – Juan

Joseph – Jose

Mark – Marco

Michael – Miguel

Peter – Pedro

Richard – Ricardo

Robert – Roberto

Stephen – Esteban

Thomas – Tomás

William – Guillermo

Women’s Names

The correspondences between women's names in English and Spanish work much the same as those for the men. It is interesting to note that the feminine suffix in Spanish, "-a," is not uncommon in English women's names. So some Spanish name equivalents involve little more than respelling the same name according to Spanish linguistic conventions. For example, Anna becomes Ana in Spanish, because there is no double-n sound in Spanish.

April – Abril

Anna – Ana

Barbara – Barbara/Bebe

Dorothy – Dora

Elizabeth – Isabel/Elisabet/Elisabé

Ellen – Elena

Eve – Eva

Grace – Gracia

Helen – Helena

Hope – Esperanza

Linda – Linda

Lisa – (No specific correspondence, but as the diminutive of Elizabeth you may see it rendered as Isabel. Sometimes seen as Liliana or Maribel)

Lorraine – Lorena

Margaret – Margarita

Mary – Maria

Nancy – Inés

Natalie – Natalia

Patricia – Patricia

Rachel – Raquel

Rose – Rosa

Roxanne/Roseanne – Rosana

Sarah – Sara

Sonya – Sonia

Susan – Susana

Violet – Violeta