My name is Christine Marie Bowman. What would be the Korean name for Christine Marie Bowman, for example like Lee Young-Ae, Kim Jung-Min, etc?
Christine Marie Bowman
Dear Christine Marie Bowman,
The Korean name for Christine Marie Bowman would be... 크리스틴 마리 보우먼. But that's not what you are looking for.
The Korean believes you are mistaking Koreans with Chinese. For a reason unknown to the Korean, Chinese people insist that people with non-Chinese based names take on a Chinese-style three character name that is somewhat similar to the original name.
Koreans in the late 19th century/early 20th century followed that rule as well, which resulted in interesting names for foreign missionaries in Korea at the time. For example, Dr. Horace Underwood, a missionary who founded Yonsei University, took the Korean name 원두우 (Won Du-woo) because it sounds similar to "Underwood". However, the building that commemorates Dr. Underwood at Yonsei University is called "Underwood Hall", and written in Korean as 언더우드 관, rather than "Won Du-Woo Hall" or 원두우 관. As the Korean understands it, Chinese people would use the latter option.
Bottom line is that because Korean alphabet is good enough to transcribe non-Korean names fully (although with some limitations,) Korean people do not have the need to insist on a Korean-style three-letter name. If you would like a Korean-style name, you can simply make one for yourself. But such name would be just a random creation without any rhyme or reason behind it. For example, the current U.S. ambassador to Korea is a lady named Kathleen Stephens, who was a former Peace Corps member in Korea during the 1970s. She took on a Korean name 심은경 (Shim Eun-Kyeong) in the 70s, only because the last name Shim is somewhat close to Stephens and Eun-Kyeong was a pretty name. There is no reason why "Katheleen Stephens" must translate to "Shim Eun-Kyeong".
Do you want a Korean name for yourself? The Korean briefly described the naming process in Korea here. Pick the letters and go nuts.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at email@example.com.