Talk on Chinese brand name translation 发表论文 科技英语论文发表润色
Abstract: A brand is shown by a name , a word , a sign , a symbol , a design or a combination of them. Brand-naming itself represents a strategically important issue and may determine the success or failure of a product.Along with the globalization of world economy, especially with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, more and more Chinese have realized the importance of good brand /names and international brand names in promoting sales and cultivating markets. The essay attempts to make some study on the topic. In the first part, the essay talks about cultural difference. In the second part, it suggests some appropriate principles to guide the translation. In the third part, the essay provides some flexibly used methods to deal with the problems in translation.
Keywords: brand name; cultural difference; translation principles; translation methods
Brand name is “a name given by a producer to a particular product, by which it may be recognized from among like products made by other producers.” (Longman Contemporary dictionary). It acts as a bridge between consumers and producers, which guarantees a company’s long-standing place in the market. It is intended to identify products or services of one seller or one group of sellers and to differentiate them from their competitors.
Part I Cultural difference in Chinese brand translation
The oriental and the occidental live in different parts of the earth. It makes different material conditions, different thinking patterns and actions. Therefore, t
the oriental and the occidental have different cultures, ways of life, traditional habits, historical stories and political and economical systems, and so on. As it is a tool for expression, there are differences between two languages in ways of expression and linguistic cultures, also between
Chinese brands and English brands. It is necessary to pay attention to the cultural differences. Otherwise, many foolishnesses and unnecessary troubles may come as punishments. The following are
main examples of culture conflicts in brand translations .
First,Differences in connotation.
In English, many words chosen as brand names are composed of referential meaning(literal) and connotative meaning(implied), and the latter usually contains certain culture. For example, a kind of clock branded with “金鸡”, some translators used to translate it as golden cock,while the word “cock” in western culture refers to “man’s genitals”. so, we had better translate it into “Golden Rooster”. “孔雀” is a symbol of beauty and nobility in China, while in the west peacock is used to describe a vainglorious person. “蜜蜂”is a symbol of diligence, while bee in the west also means an unpleasant creature that stings people.
Second,the words chosen have negative meanings in the target culture.
“海燕” as petrel. In China, it is regarded as a bird with strong will, because it often battles with wind and waves. However, in English culture, petrel means a misfortune. “芳芳” (cosmetic), which is translated as FangFang according to Chinese Pinyin. However, in English, fang also means long, sharp teeth, as of a dog or a poisonous snake.
Third,Differences in usage
The brand “白象”is translated as white elephant which means costly but useless things. There is one example to illustrate this point.“ 白翎 ” (“ Bailing ” ) , one kind of pen made in Shanghai, is translated into English as “ White Feather ” directly. As a result, it fails to take the market oversea. In English, there is an idiom“ to show the white feather ” whose meaning is that deserting on the eve of a battle . That is to say, a white feather has the connotation “a coward ‘.
Part II Principles of Chinese brand name translation
It is different between the west and the east in the environment, religion and economic development, which in return always results in different thought patterns, values and beliefs. So, we need:
First, to respect the foreign customers’ psychology and cultures.
“喜鹊”is a bird loved by the Chinese and the Japanese, the magpie stands for good luck and happy things in Chinese and Japanese cultures. However, in English-speaking countries, it refers to a talkative, troubling person. “海燕” in China is a symbol of bravery and wisdom. Because it often battles with winds and waves. But the petrel is not welcome in the west, since in their opinions, petrel means a person whose presence exists discontentment, quarrelling, etc. in a social group.
The same case is also true for Chinese“龙”. Dragon is regarded as a special Chinese symbol, admired by Chinese people. However, in the west, people just regard it as a severely strong animal with fire-breathing mouth, meaning a violence and evil animal, which will bring you discomfort.
Second, to reveal Chinese unique culture.
The brand names could be viewed as a window through which the outside is able to know China. For example, the Great wall, as one of Chinese famous places of interests, is also widely known in the world. Other names like the Temple of heaven, EMei, Mao Tai and HuangShan are also well-known. Recently, the mascot “福娃” is directly translated to “Fuwa” according to its pronunciation, which is accepted and quite popular among foreigners.
Third, to choose brief and rhythmical words.
Brand names had better be plain, brief, terse and easy to pronounce so that the consumers could memorize the products easily. For instance, “娃哈哈”is translated as Wahaha. In China, “娃哈哈” means if the child drinks it , he/she will become happy and healthy living a happy life. While in English, the name wahaha is rhythmical to sound and easy for the foreigners to remember. “康佳”is pronounced as Konka in Chinese Pinyin, which creates certain beauty in its pronunciation. Konka sounds sweet and agrees to the psychology of people both in the source and target language.
美加净- Maxam(cosmetic) 新科- Shinco(phone)飞亚达-Fiyata(watch)美的- Midea(air-conditione) 乐格兰仕- Glanza(electricappliance) 亨氏-Heinz
Part III Main methods for Chinese brand name translation
As discussed above, the successful translation of brand names refers to lots of factors. Among them the most important is the flexible employment of translation methods in practice. In this part, we will focus on four main methods in brand name translation. The most common used are of four kinds: 1) Liberal translation, 2) Transliteration, 3) Combination of liberal translation and transliteration, 4) Homophone translation, and 5)Other methods
3.1 Liberal translation
Liberal translation means translating meanings literally, namely, keeping both the original form and the original sense together. As Chinese and English cultures share many similarities, many brands can be translated into English literally, especially those names of plants, animals, birds and precious things like gem, diamond and gold. For example,“熊猫”is rendered into English “ Panda ”.Chinese bicycle brand “ 永久 ” into English name “ Forever ”.红蜻蜓istranslated as “Red dragonfly”.“梅花”.“百灵” “小天鹅” “飞鸽” “水晶” “金杯” can be translated into plum blossom. panda .lark little swan. golden cup. Crystal. “雅致”（clothes）which indicates the quality can be translated into “elegance”, “王朝”(wine)as dynasty. It leaves people an impression of long history, and reminds people of good wine.“北极星”（watch） can be translated into “polaris” and “凤凰”（bike）as “phoenix”,“牡丹”（electric appliance）can be translated as “peony”.
Transliteration refers to the way of translating according to the pronunciation of the source language, by taking into account the sounds of words instead of their verbal meanings, for example:功夫-Gong FU/Kong Fu，亨氏-Heinz,峨嵋-EMei， 李宁-LiNing,飞龙-Pharon,康佳-Konka.必是-Besh,新科-Shinco,乐百氏-Robust．海尔-Haier,朵彩-Docare,红蜻蜓-Red Dragonfly.As the transliteration, there are usually two ways as follows: one is to translate it by Chinese Pinyin. Take the famous Chinese brand name“ 鸭鸭 ”as the example. We translate“鸭鸭”into Ya Ya. Other examples:“太极”as Tai Ji ，“黄河” as Huang He, “功夫”as Gong Fu/Kung Fu, “大宝”as DaBao, “娃哈哈” as Wahaha,“敦煌”as Tun Huang,“健力宝”as Jian Li Bao, 格力 as Gree(air-conditioner).
3.3 Combination of liberal translation and transliteration
This method is often used when the Chinese brand name can be combined into one both by the pronunciation in Chinese Pinyin and meaning translated as English words. For example, 霸王（watch）which is translated into power. It is a perfect combination between English and Chinese. For, power is similar to“霸王”in pronunciation，while power in Chinese also means a man with great power, which is suitable for a watch,as it has big power to circle without stop and to be used long enough.海信 (electric appliance)-Hisense,楚星(constructive material)-True star,美通(electrical cell)- Bestone.
3.4 Homophone translation
/Homophone translation is to use a word which sounds the same(or similar) as another but is different in meaning, origin or spelling. It greatly depends on the imagination of the translator and the knowledge and the target cultures he masters. For
instance:红袖—Hopeshow(clothing),乔士-Choose(clothing),来福- Life(tonic),金威- Kingway(beer),乐百氏- Robust(jelly),乐凯- Lucky(film).
3.5 Other methods
Besides the methods we have talked above, there are also some other methods. One is the combination of the numbers with the words, which is an especially new way.Such as“三九胃泰”as 999, “昂立一号” as only one. They are accepted by foreigners as good trademarks. The other is also the abbreviation way, like TCL as the symbol of “王牌”彩电. MD as the abbreviation of “美的”电器.
Along with the development of international trade, and the globalization of the economy, the competition of commodities becomes fiercer and fiercer. Brand name translation that covers different culture, beliefs, people’s psychology and customs, as the embodiment of commerce, is becoming an important part of our life. We must do the work following the guidance of appropriate principles and flexible methods. We firmly believe that in the future, as the development of globalization, more and more Chinese brand names will rank in the international market and Chinese brand translation will make greater progress.
 李太志. 中英商标词语的文化差异及其翻译[J]. 宿州教育学院学报，2005（3）.