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Sunday 11 December 2016

Teen makes €57k helping choose English names for Chinese babies

Beau Jessup
Beau Jessup

A growing number of Chinese parents have taken to choosing an English name for their offspring in the hope of helping them gain a future foothold in Britain and the West.

Unfortunately that has led to mixed results, with some Chinese children now blessed with names such as Cinderella, Gandalf and even Rolex.

Step forward Beau Jessup - a 16-year-old schoolgirl who has earned more than £48,000 (€57,000) offering advice to Chinese families on how to choose rather more suitable English names.

Beau, a pupil at Cheltenham Ladies College, hit on the idea during a family visit to China, when she was asked by friends during a meal out to suggest an English name for their newborn baby.

"There are quite a few examples where people have gotten the names wrong. I once heard of someone called Gandalf and another called Cinderella," Beau said.

The teenager set up the website, Specialname, to suggest culturally appropriate English names for prospective parents by matching the meaning of the name to the family's ideals and aspirations for their child.

Six months on, Beau has named more than 232,000 Chinese babies, using names such as George, William, Catherine and Susan.

Beau said she decided to set up the website after hearing some of the "embarrassing" English names Chinese parents had chosen for their children.

She said: "When I went to China I kept being asked to name babies for my parent's friends. They explained an English name is vital because you can't use a Chinese name on email or a university application to the UK. Your English name stays with you for life.

Beau's website suggests a shortlist of three culturally- appropriate names for the baby, producing a shortlist, along with the original meaning of the name and a famous namesake such as Grace Kelly or Catherine Middleton.

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