Tag Archives: birth certificate

Did your mother name you “At the time”?


A birth certificate in Hindi

They don't call it a name certificate for a reason.

Most blogs begin with an explanation about why the blogger began his blogging. This one will leave that subject to mystery (or privacy, perhaps). What I prefer to talk about is how difficult it is to come up with a name.

Don’t name your child

Just today I was helping someone translate a birth certificate from Hindi into English. Since Hindi isn’t a language I specialize in, or know even a single word of (is paneer Hindi?), I partner with a trusted translator in India I’ve worked with for the past several years. When he sent it back to me, the baby’s name was written as Tatsamay. That wasn’t the client’s name, and as it turns out, this is simply Hindi for “At the time” — meaning, the baby’s name had not yet been decided at the time of birth.

Imagine that: nine months to think up a name and…nothing. (It could be laziness, but likely it is just the tradition in India to leave the naming of child until later.)

Don’t name your blog

It seems fairly auspicious to begin a blog on the same day with the wise and ancient advice that a name is better left to the future, when you know something about the baby blog being born. After all, if Indian tradition doesn’t know about blogging, I don’t know who does.

So, let’s leave it at that. Language and names are very important, too important even for a blog about language.