- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 05/04/2018
When it comes to translating brand names, different countries interpret brand names differently and hence will translate them differently. Most countries will try to localize the brand name. This is why when trusting the translation of a brand name to a translation agency, you need to make sure it understands and uses the right translated brand name in the local language.
Always hire professionals
If your company exports products to a foreign market, then you will need to hire a professional translation agency to find the right way to translate your brand name. A good translation agency can do wonders when translating brand names. But beware… sometimes, you may need to change the name of your products as the translated version may not be suitable or acceptable in the target language.
How to deal with offensive translations?
Sometimes, when a brand name is translated into a target language, the translation may be offensive to some people. It is therefore necessary to change the brand name. When it comes to crossing cultures, there are many dilemmas faced by translation companies. It is also necessary for product managers to spend a lot of time finding the right name for their product lines. Product names should not sound offensive when translated.
Debate and change the brand name, if necessary
It is thus the responsibility of the company and its product managers to debate and come up with a name that won’t sound offensive when translated. For example, Chevrolet had to change the name of its Chevy Nova because “No va” in Spanish means “it doesn’t work”. This is an example of how a product name when translated for a particular country may not be appropriate.
Many export companies ask translation agencies whether their brand names will work with an international audience. The best way to carry out focus groups of some description within the targeted market itself. The idea is for the export company to find out whether any potential issues will arise and this exercise must be undertaken before the launch of the brand name.
What should a translation agency do?
A good translation agency must be good at interpreting the brand name in a general manner and should identify the first thoughts that come to mind when translating a brand name. Secondly, they need to find out all possible meanings of the brand name. Thirdly, they need to identify negative connotations. Finally, they need to find out whether or not the existing brand name may cause a trademark concern.
There are exceptions as can be seen with international brand names like McDonald’s and Ford as well as VISA – all of whom have names that are easy to recognize and which work in all overseas markets. However, if the brand name is not so well known, then there are issues about misconceptions in the worldwide marketplace that need to be understood and dealt with.
The bottom line is when translating brand names, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. First, is there a serious issue with the brand name. Second, is the issue isolated or does it affect a number of markets. Third, will the translated brand name have a negative effect or fourth, will the translated brand name impact purchase intent and revenues. Depending on how these questions are answered, translation agencies will need to deal with the translated brand name differently.