I am happy to see two comments, one from Mark and one from Leo. Mark has provided a source of info on the transliteration of foreign names into Chinese. Thanks to Mark for the information.
I look forward to the day when, in Chinese texts, most foreign names will always appear in Pinyin phonetic script based on the pronunciation in the original language with Chinese characters appearing in brackets. This will the most correct representation of the foreign name for the reader. The assumption is that Pinyin will understood by all Chinese readers.
Leo asks my view on audio only courses like Pimsleur or Michel David. In my view these courses have advantages. Listening is easier than reading. Listening is more pleasant. Listening does not seem like work. You can listen everywhere today with CD players, MD player, MP3 players etc.
It might be that listening appeals to the right side of the brain. Muarizio Falghera, President of that great Italian language site Il Narratore, alludes to that possibility in a speech given in May 28 in Milan, Italy.
LEGGERE CON GLI OCCHI, LEGGERE CON LE ORECCHIE ?
(Lettura, Dislessia e il Libro Parlato)
( In English)
Reading with the eyes, reading with the ears?
(Dyslexia and the spoken word)
There is no doubt that audio learning is an intense and powerful medium of instruction. I recommend audio books even to native speakers. Listening to audio books is a delightful experience for people who are advanced speakers of second and third languages. The quality and variety of audio books is improving all the time. For intermediate learners it is necessary to combine these audio books with a system like The Linguist.
If the learner can combine audio with reading and the deliberate study of words and phrases, learning will be greatly enhanced. This is true for foreign language learners as well as for people who want to improve their literacy in their native language.
To speak a language well you need to master many words and phrases. You need to read well. You need to practise reading. You need to read easily and develop your reading speed. There are all skills that audio material can help you acquire more quickly. But audio alone will not do it.