What is a Yomi Name and Yomi Company?

The Yomi question usually comes up when a Microsoft Office 365 user decides to try out Outlook Online (which you should – the latest version is much improved and the online version is getting more features that don’t make their way through to desktop Outlook) and starts adding contacts.

Microsoft Office 365 Outlook online and Microsoft Dynamics 365 both show fields for Yomi name and Yomi company for contacts. These don’t appear on the desktop version of the Outlook clients so this can cause some confusion.

So what is this Yomi thing all about?

Yomi is short for Yomigana which is best described as a phonetic reading aid for Japanese Kanji characters.

Confusingly, Yomi or Yomigana is also known as Furigana.

Still none the wiser?

Why would you use Yomi Name and Yomi Company?

In Japanese, Yomi characters might be positioned above complex Kanji characters to help with pronunciation or in children’s books when the readers may not have the required language skills.

So why does it appear in Microsoft Office 365 Outlook online and Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Yomi Company Name


Microsoft explains that kanji names normally have a Yomi/Yomigana/Furigana equivalent which is used for sorting and searching.

So really, it is intended for use by Japanese users and those using Microsoft Outlook online or Dynamics 365 in English can safely ignore it.

However, maybe the idea of having a field for the phonetic pronunciation of names, companies, place names, etc., in your CRM isn’t such a bad idea.

Most company names and brands are pretty straightforward, but there are a few tricky ones.

You may know the correct pronunciation of Nike and Adidas, but maybe not everyone in the company does.

In the tech world, Huawei invariably causes confusion and listeners may be surprised to discover their Far East rather than North East origins.

While we can all struggle with pronunciation sometimes, imagine trying to land a client like Givenchy, Moschino, Hermes or Balmain and being the only company pitching that keeps getting the name ‘wrong’?

How frustrating must it be for a client or prospect with a name with a slightly (or very) unusual pronunciation, to always have to correct the pronunciation of their name every time a different sales rep, account manager or customer service rep calls them?

It’s not uncommon in the UK to have colleagues or clients who are Irish or of Irish descent. While most Irish people have names that are easy to pronounce, there are some that can cause confusion. While we may be familiar with the likes of Pádraig due to the famous golfer Pádraig Harrington or Sinead through the singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor, there are a few Irish names that can cause tricky moments for even the most avid Hibernophile.

For those who aren’t Irish speakers, how would you get on with the likes of Aoife, Béibhinn, Caoimhe, Cúan, Dáire, Dearbhail, Eibhilin, Gráinne, Naoise, Ruadhri or Tadhg? And how would you feel if you spent your life correcting the 99 percent of people who pronounce your name incorrectly when reading from the written form?

Your CRM system typically stores information about your client’s favourite football time, perhaps the name of their spouse, the number of kids they have and particular likes and dislikes, so why wouldn’t you have an aide-memoire for how to pronounce their name?

Imagine the competitive advantage you get when your opening conversation with a prospect doesn’t start with, ‘Actually, my name is pronounced xxxxxx…’?

So now that you know what the Yomi Name and Yomi Company fields are in Microsoft Outlook online or Microsoft Dynamics 365, even if you aren’t Japanese or in Japan, maybe you should consider using them after all…


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