The better question to ask is, "What does my name sound like in Japanese?" but we'll tell you all the same!
Here's how it works:
We take your name, and then we pronounce it with Japanese syllables. There are a set number of sounds within the Japanese language that often can't express foreign words very accurately. There are standards in place, however, for how to convert certain sounds to Japanese. For example, the "th" sound that Japanese lacks is simply converted to an "s" or "z" sound. The word "Myth" becomes "Misu."
Note that a lesson on hiragana/katakana, the basis of Japanese syllables, will be posted at some point in the future. In the meantime, this is a short list of the vowel sounds and their common romanization in Japanese:
あ (a) - "ah," or the o in "got" or "pot" in American English
い (i) - "ee," or the ea in "teach"
う (u) - "oo," or the oo in "boot"
え (e) - "eh," or the e in "hen"
お (o) - "oh," or the oa in "boat"
There's other variants of these sounds, but if they arise, I'll explain then.
Take my name, for example.
The sounds there, as spoken in Japanese are "Jya" "Shu" and "a." (ジャシュア） That's actually pretty much the same as it is in English, so I'm lucky! Except, it turns out that "Jyashua" is a fairly unnatural sounding name within context of Japanese, so my name in Japanese is actually "Jyoshua" (ジョシュア).
We can then take that one step further and figure out some kanji for the name, which really won't ever be useful within the context of Japanese, but it's kind of neat to have a way to spell your name, and to assign some meaning to it. In my case, I settled on the kanji 助手, which actually only covers "Joshu," but that's my nickname in Japan, so it works!
We can do full names, screen names, anything, really. There are some sounds that are extremely difficult to find kanji for. We'll do our best, though! If your name is difficult to pronounce in American English, please try to provide a pronunciation guide!
Just post with the name you want translated, and someone will get to it!
The first thing I give you is the most correct way to write your name in Japanese. It's katakana, which is the character set reserved for foreign words. Everything else is just there for fun, but if you ever needed to really write your name in Japanese, use the katakana. It's simpler and more angular if you don't know which it is.
edited by Joshura on May 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM