I heard that many Korean names are derived from Chinese and many Koreans have a Chinese reading of their name, but can it be done vice versa? My name is 沈丕謙, i am guessing if it translated directly, it wouldn't sound like a Korean name. What is the literal translation of my name and how can it be altered to sound like a native name?

1 Answer 1


Yes. A rare name though.

沈 S(h)im 비겸丕謙 Bigyeom

An interesting question! Your characters are included in the legal set of hanja for personal names published by the Supreme Court of South Korea, namely “人名用漢字.” And the readings are: 심 — romanized as “Bigyeom S(h)im.”

The surname

is the thirty-second most common surname in South Korea taking up about 0.6% of the entire population, that is more or less three hundred thousands, and the place of origin is 청송靑松 Cheongsong. It’s neither common nor uncommon.


The forename

비겸丕謙 is possible; I wouldn’t say it sounds completely foreign. It just sounds unique. As of 2020, there’s only seven people with that forename, irrespective of the actual hanja, in South Korea. To make it more common, you could alter a single vowel: “비” to “보” — “심S(h)im Bogyeom.”

There are 1,338 South Koreans with the forename “보겸,” the 80% of them being male and the 20% being female, and it’s quite common, I find.

  • Nice answer! I wonder where did you find Korean name gender statistics?
    – Dan Zheng
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 0:49
  • 1
    @DanZheng It was from namechart.kr, apparently based on the official data from the Supreme Court of Korea. Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 6:57

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