First of all, I'm Korean, and we don't have a middle name.

Except for a very few odd cases, our names are composed of one letter surname, and two letters first name.

For example, former UN secretary general was Korean, and his name is Ban (family name), and Ki-Moon (first name)

I don't know how he presented himself in initialized form, but would it be possible for me to present myself in documents (such as in academic references) like this:

Ban, K.M.

or would that kind of initials only apply to middle names, and would therefore mislead people to thinking that I have a middle name?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of How to write my Korean name in academic publications?
    – Laurel
    Apr 2, 2018 at 5:55
  • 1
    In other words, you can write it as "Ban, K.-M."
    – Laurel
    Apr 2, 2018 at 5:56
  • One of the lower answers in the suggested duplicate (above comment) has a useful link to a Wikipedia article which seems to address the problem.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 2, 2018 at 10:08
  • @Laurel If I prefer to not add hyphen, then would it be ok to write my abbreviated name in the form of "Ban, K. M." ?
    – Simonet
    Apr 2, 2018 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


It's up to the particular style that you use, but the hyphenation will be preserved in some way so as to avoid the confusion that you indicate:

  • Ban, K.-M.
  • Ban, K-M
  • Ban, K-M.

I believe that the first example is the most common in terms of punctuation.

I have yet to see a style guide recommend dropping the hyphenated part altogether ("Ban, K.") or keeping the hyphen but removing the second initial ("Ban, K-.").

Note that this applies equally to similarly hyphenated English names (for example, "Ann-Marie") and is not just about the translation from one language to another. If the translation includes a hyphen, then the hyphenation styles apply.

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