Translation:What is his name?
Another translation: "What is his called?" Doesn't sound like proper English to me (not a native speaker)
As most of the posts below agree: the use of the possessive pronoun, "his," forms an incorrect English usage. Pronouns used in the absence of a clear reference are misleading, so this particular translation is misleading. A native speaker would read this and wonder "his WHAT?" It could refer to a body part, a family relation, a dog, his mood, ... So how does one even know that "he" should in this case translate as "his."
Technically, more literally, it is "what is he called" ("he," not "his"), but "what is he called" is functionally equivalent to "what is his name;" because, "his name" is, indeed, "what he is called." In Chinese, as in English, there is more than one way to ask this question, e.g., "what is he called" or "what is his name;" this this particular sentence, 他叫什么, is the former, using the verb "call" rather than the noun "name." Again, functionally, practically, it's the same question inasmuch as it's asking for the same information, but each question is phrased differently. Some of the students here do not appreciate that difference, and "report" that "what is his name" is more common than "what is he called" in English, but this course is "Chinese for English learners," so, the point is to learn the Chinese, which, in this particular sentence, is much closer to "what is he called" than "what is his name." And yes, for the benefit of people earnestly trying to learn English as well as Chinese, "what is he called" is, indeed, a perfectly legitimate English sentence. Ostensibly, Duo relented to the students who complained, and now "what is his name" is the "default" translation given at the top of this page, which too bad, as "what is he called" gives the students the opportunity to learn the actual words that generate the sentence rather than a merely equivalent translation.
As for "what is his called," yes, indeed, that translation, which used to be Duo's "default" translation, is incorrect: it should be "what is he called" rather than "what is his called."
In this case, we do not need the possessive, as 叫 functions as a verb ("to be called," or "to be named") here:
他 = he
叫 = is called
什么 = what?
If you wanted to use "name" as a noun rather than a verb, then, yes, you could use the possessive after 他, this way: 他的名字是什么 :
他的 = his
名字 = name
是 = is
什么 = what
A (formal) way to introduce yourself is to indicate your family name, followed by your given name; e.g., to introduce yourself as "XiaoMing Wang" you could say 我姓王叫小明 :
我 = I / my (in this case)
姓 = surname, family name
王 = Wang
叫 = called
小明 = XiaoMing
Or, to introduce yourself as "John Smith," you could say "我姓 Smith 叫 John."
Notice that we do not use the possessive particle 的 in this sentence pattern. ”我姓Smith叫John“ means "I am (of the family) 'Smith,' (I am) called 'John,'" or "My family name is 'Smith,' my given name is 'John,'" or "I am a Smith who is called John." There are good ways to translate this sentence into English using possessives, e.g., "my name is" rather than "I am called," but the possessive particle 的 is not used in this particular Chinese sentence.
LITERALLY "he called what" which in grammatically correct english should be "what is he called?"
"what is his name?" is 他的名字是什麼 (ta de mingzi shi shenme).
tho it might have similar connotation, that's a completely differenct sentence. a person's name could be Wang Ming, but if he goes by a nickname like 小王(xiao wang) or 明明 (ming ming), then it could be said 他叫小王/明明 (ta jiao xiao wang/ming ming). would you still fuxking say that's his name? no you wouldn't because that's NOT his name, that's what he's CALLED.
I feel like when we are learning languages, and are not trying to translate for major corporations, it makes sense to translate word for word in many instances, because it gets us used to thinking in the Chinese grammar. Translating it as 'He is called what?' helps me get into the jive of Chinese grammar, and I was disappointed duoLingo didn't allow these 'unnatural' translations. I was also upset I couldn't translate "Ta shi na guo ren?" as "He is which country's person?" because I went so many years in college with this being a valid translation under all my Chinese instructors XD
Even "what is he called?" sounds a little bit unnatural to me. I can't imagine hearing anyone saying "he is called what?". Most people would say "what's his name", since that's the more respectful way to refer to a human being. When you say "what is he called", it sounds the person you're referring to is some kind of inanimate object and you're wondering what classification it falls under. For instance, I'd ask "what is a rock that has melted called?", and "what's your friend's name", but I wouldn't ask what's the name of a rock that has melted, nor would I ask what your friend is called.
"What's his name?" is the most common form, but some people don't even go by their names, and if you are looking for the nickname that people are calling him then you might ask "What is he called?" Actually, I would ask the person directly, "What do you like to be called?" So, it is good to know both forms.
"What is he called?" sounds archaic or noble, but it's not altogether unnatural. If this was an English course, trying to make us fluent in modern, everyday English, I could understand penalizing us for using "What is he called?"
But this is teaching us Chinese, so all valid translations should work. Furthermore, for a lot of people, it's a lot easier if they actually incorporate translations for all the words, ie: "called" for jiao. Clearly, "What is he called?" should be a valid answer.