Your Name is What? Michaela

Today's victim meant well. He wanted the names of his kids tattooed in Hebrew on his belly, probably even asked a native speaker for advice...

Too bad his tattoo was translated by a moron.

Funny really, we've got two names, Michaela and Trevor. Trevor (on the bottom) is a name that has nothing to do with Hebrew, yet it is perfectly written. Michaela (on top), on the other hand, is a proper Hebrew name, but was mangled beyond recognition.

The problem with a name like Michaela, is that you never know how to pronounce it. In Hebrew, Michaela is pronounced as mi-khah-EH-lah. In English, the standard seems to be mi-KAY-lah.

It's a confusing name! I wouldn't even blame the hapless translator, except his result is absolutely appalling. It reads mi-tchah-eh-lah, sounds a bit like Mitchell, and has an extra Aleph just for kicks. This error is one only a native Hebrew speaker with spotty knowledge of English will make.

Now, if you don't want to be fouled by phonetics too, pay attention. This is how you write Michaela in Hebrew:

The top is Michaela with the Hebrew pronunciation. The bottom is the English pronunciation, and it can be used for all related spellings, such as McKayla, Mikayla, Makayla and so on.

There's a lesson to be learned here. When getting a name translated to Hebrew, do tell your translator what it's supposed to sound like!


  1. I don't know...maybe it's just the photo, but the lamed looks a little like a resh to me in the second name, which I guess would make the other kid's name "Trouble."

  2. Heh, that's because it is a Resh, the name is Trevor. The end Resh does look a bit like a Lamed though...

  3. A better translation to Trevor would be:

  4. I don't think it's necessarily better, Trevor can be written either way. Personally, I prefer the BET version.

  5. This is insane. He got the name translated letter for "letter". The m was good, the i was ok, but the ch is where the fun start. I see a lot of people in Israel transcribe their own name with a ch instead of the Khet, so you get a Chagit when you mean "Kha-geet". I didn't imagine the opposite can happen. The idea of transcribing a vowel to an aleph is similarly insane.

  6. Writing Het as ch is a very common practice, it's not considered a mistake. Of course, the problem starts when you actually need to read the name...

  7. At first I thought the bottom word was טבור - belly button.. :)

  8. This reminds me of the time when I received my first ever Hebrew lesson book.

    I had never seen Hebrew before and I looked at the alphabet and tried to spell my name by substituting the Hebrew letters for the English letters. My name is Michelle so I think I got something like mem-vowel-chet-hey-vowel-lamed-lamed-vowel all in a row.

    Also, I was about 8 and never got that tattooed anywhere on my body.

  9. is it the same spelling in the hebrew characters when it's MIKHAELA?

  10. טרבור is better than טרוור. In Hebrew transliteration names with the syllable VO are usually not written with 2 or more Vav's, simply because טרוור can mean also Trever, and to get the right syllable you'd need too many Vav's.
    Devonshire = דבונשייר


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