At one time, all Cherokee children were given Cherokee names because English was not spoken. One thing most families have held onto is the naming of their children. Although English names are given and appear on hospital and state birth certificates, the family elders continue to give their children Cherokee names which are used in the home. Some names have literal translations while some have no known translation. Names like Running Bear or Storm Cloud are not Cherokee names, they are English words that sound like something 'Indian'. Some Cherokee names translate into English like Deer-in-the-Water, but these are special names just like any last name, it is the last name of your family. Examples of Cherokee first names are Enigi or Geyohi which do not have English translations. Some names, such as Usdi which means "little", or Diyesdisgi which means "wakes them up".
If you do not have a Cherokee name or if you are wanting to translate or write your English name into Cherokee, here are some suggestions: If you do not have a Cherokee name, ask an Elder in your family if there is a Cherokee family name suitable for you. Names are normally given by the elder family members and can be an ancestor name or can be based off of some characteristic you poses or an action that you have done.
To translate an English name, look up the etymology (origin and meaning) of your English name, and ask a Cherokee speaker to translate the definition into Cherokee. Example, the name Paul would have to be translated to find what the name means. "Paul" is from a Roman family name Paulus, which meant "small" or "humble" in Latin. The translation for "humble" in Cherokee would be "Nu-tlv-quo-dv-na". Then you can go to the Cherokee syllabary chart and match up the phonetic sounds to the Cherokee syllabary. Always ask if the translation would be appropriate as a Cherokee name.
Below are some actual Cherokee names from history:
The Crying Buffalo